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ILL US T A TED.
"Would you know whether the tendency of a book is good or evil,
examine in what state of mind you lay it down."
W E L LS GARDNER, DARTON & CO.,
2, PATERNOSTER BUILDINGS.
CON TE V TS.
WRONG IN HIS HEAD.
A SAILOR'S GRATITUDE.
THE MOTHER'S CHRISTMAS GIFT.
MOTHER HOLFORD'S LADDER.
MRS. MILSOM'S SUPPER PARTY.
THE YOUNG RECRUIT.
MY GRANDMOTHER'S DOLLAR.
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT.
THE YOUNG WIDOW.
HIS LOVE AND HER LOVE.
ANOTHER STORY OF HALLOW.
BY THE AvTHOR OF "CHATTY" AND "JE-M."
A CHRISTENING ROBE
IT HATTY ANDERSON sat sewing in her little
parlour, the sun glinting upon her between the
long sprays of Virginia creeper. It was just two
Years since David Anderson, gardener to Squire
Grundy, of Hallow Priory, and Charlotte Cooper, were mar-
ried in the old church of Hallow, and those who knew the
little bride of those days did not think her greatly changed by
the experiences of wifehood and motherhood. She was still a
little, lame, girlish creature, with a sunny changeful face, and
a smile that was half droll and half wistful; her mother-in-
law, when she was put out, said in scorn, that she was nae
but a bit silly bairn yet, for a' that had come an' gane." But
in happier moments old Mrs. Anderson was the first to
acknowledge that the bit thing wad make a wiselike woman
yet, an' Davie had cause to be proud o' her."
There was a small Charlotte now, also, to aid in sobering
and deepening the character of the young wife; a three months'
old baby, who lay in the cradle, just within reach, crowing and
cooing to herself in great contentment. Little Charlotte had
been baptized in haste, when, at only a few days old, her life
had been thought in danger; and on this very next Sunday
2 In Keepifg."
she was to be received into the Church. Her name had been
chosen by her father, not altogether to Chatty's satisfaction;
but it was finally agreed that, to distinguish mother and
daughter, the little one should be known as Lotty; and Lotty
already she was called, with great dignity, by her parents.
But the pretty robe on which Chatty was so diligently at
work was not for her own child. Lotty's christening garments
had been nearly all presents, and lay ready for her use in the
chest of drawers upstairs. The Vicar's wife, Mrs. Harding,
had given the dress with its dainty embroidery; her sister,
Miss Jeanie Churchill, had added the cloak; while Lotty's
own mother had provided the hood. Old Mrs. Anderson
regarded these braveries, half with pride and half with sus-
picion, as warldly vanities;" but she was not to be outdone
in liberality towards her grandchild, and her share was a
wonderful old shawl, of real value in itself, and doubly precious
because David, and David's father, had been carried therein
to their baptism, and before that it had come from India, and
had belonged to David's father's master's wife. So it was a
shawl with a history.
But Chatty had a friend in Hallow, a young woman married
only a little later than herself, Susan Shirley by name, and
the Shirley baby was just five weeks old, and was to be chris-
tened on Sunday.
Susan had been housemaid at the Vicarage in her maiden
days; a tall girl, fair and fresh, with a face tanned by sun and
wind, but round white arms that any lady might have envied.
Susan was one of those girls who look their best in print
dresses and working aprons, with their sleeves tucked up,
maybe, over the washing, or wielding a broom with the grace
that comes of strength of muscle and long practice. Her hair
was always neat and shining, let the wind blow as it liked
and exercise brought animation to her eyes and colour to her
In Keeping." 3
cheek. In her Sunday attire she was not half so pretty.
Her taste was untrained, and not good by nature ; her fingers
were cleverer over the house work than in making clothes,
and the village dressmaker whom she therefore employed did
not understand that part of her craft known as fitting."
Susan, however, was quite contented so long as the colour of
her gown was ': pretty," and she could believe she was in the
fashion; or rather, she had been contented before she knew
Chatty Anderson. Not that she now deferred openly to
Chatty's judgment in matters of dress or anything else; but
it had happened to her more than once, that after starting for
church in full satisfaction with her own appearance, she had
met Chatty by the way, and had immediately lost that pleasant
confidence. Chatty looked like a lady; that was the only
explanation she could find; and then Susan decided with
herself two things: first, that her friend was as good as a lady
every bit, and better too; and secondly, that she herself could
not be a lady if she would, and would not if she could; and
so she held on determinedly to that red rose in her bonnet,
although Chatty thought, and she knew that Chatty thought,
that it looked vulgar with her blue dress.
Chatty considered that Susan had married beneath her.
Not because Shirley was a labourer; not that there was any-
thing to be said against his character; he was fairly steady,
and a kind husband; but he had had no education whatever,
and did not wish for any. The Vicar had invited him to
attend a night-school in his own house, where men older than
he-even one or two old grandfathers-were struggling pain-
fully through alphabet and spelling. Shirley thanked him
civilly, but he had no ambition whatever in that direction.
Now Susan had learnt to read and write, rather blunder-
ingly, and do simple sums, with the old dame who still kept
school in Hallow; and her education had been further
4 In Keeping."
advanced (not very eagerly on her own part) by the Vicar's
wife, who was young and energetic. Nothing could make
her an intellectual girl; but she was far a-head of her hus-
band, and perhaps the worst of it was that she was fully aware
of the fact. She had married, as so many girls do, because
she must marry somebody, and he was the best that offered;
and being naturally a true woman, loyal and affectionate, she
was fond of him, and likely to become more and more so as
time went on; but she looked down upon him a little, none
the less. When will young women learn that the love and
honour they promise in the marriage service are solemn and
sacred realities ?
Chatty and Susan had become friends more from circum-
stances than choice. Chatty had been known to the ladies of
the Vicarage from her childhood, and in her visits to them she
had naturally seen a good deal of their servants. And Susan
had taken a great fancy to her-a fancy which soon developed
into love, and which kept steady through the shock of many a
dispute and difference, for Chatty was hasty and Susan was
obstinate; aye, and through the much greater trial of wounded
feelings and misunderstandings. Chatty was seriously angry
with her friend when she finally accepted Sam Shirley; and
when once it was done, and Susan was actually married, they
made it up, and young Mrs. Anderson privately resolved to give
young Mrs. Shirley the full benefit of her, longer experience of
wedded life, and generally to keep a friendly watch upon her.
And now the little daughters had come to be a fresh link
between their mothers; and here was a chance for Chatty to
present Sue with a garment for her child after her own heart.
It was all her own work, the tiny tucks, and the little bits of
embroidery; it might have been for a lady's infant, only a
very little plainer, because time failed.
Chatty was quite too busy to look up as a shadow darkened
In Keeping." 5
the window. There was a rapid tap at the door, and, without
waiting for an answer, young Mrs. Shirley came in. She was
a little breathless and tired, and glad to drop into a chair
before she explained what had brought her.
I mustn't stay above a minute, dear. But isn't it vexing ?
Baby can't be christened this Sunday after -all, for Alice has
sent word as she and Thomas can't come over."
Oh, Sue, what a pity! But can't you manage without ?"
"I don't see how; though it'll put it off a good bit, for
Tom has got work away somewhere, and Alice doesn't know
for how long."
"Then I'm sure I wouldn't wait, Sue, dear. Why, just
think, if baby was taken ill! See, I've made this little dress
for her to be christened in."
Oh, Chatty cried Sue, in extreme delight, taking the
long white robe into her hands. To think of your working
such a thing for me. Why, it's just fit for a lady's baby !
I never knew such a one as you, Chatty. Did you,
Mr. Anderson?" she added, turning towards the door, as
David Anderson put his head in.
"Not that I can mind just now," he replied, in his usual
Just see !" continued Sue. Don't you call that lovely ?
I never could do work like that, and I must say I was fretted
that our Ethel should look so dowdy beside o' your Lotty.
Yes, Ethel is to be her name. Sam wanted it to be Eliza
Anne, after his mother, and I set my mind on Ethel; so it
is to be Ethel Eliza Anne; and do you know, the old lady
come from the Priory yesterday (Sue meant Mrs. Grundy,
the Squire's wife, usually known as Madam" in Hallow),
and I told her we were going to call her Ethel, and she said
it was a deal too fine a name. It quite put me out. I don't
think a lady like her has any call to interfere."
6 "lIn Keeping.'
She means it kindly, Mrs. Shirley," interposed Anderson.
"It's her old-fashioned ways, ye see."
It's a sort o' kindness I'd rather go without," said Sue,
I know she's as kind as can be," said Chatty, but it is
trying, Davie, more than you can tell. Men can always hold
their own better than women, and not be thought to mean
any disrespect either. Why, she's been saying to me, only
this afternoon, as this little frock wasn't fit for our station in
life. And so," said Chatty, dimpling, I had to fetch down
the things Lotty had given her, just to let her see. And so,
o' course, she couldn't say much more."
David smiled over the plant he was tying in the window-seat.
"And," continued Chatty, unable to help laughing, though
half vexed, "she doesn't like the pink in my new Sunday
bonnet, though they're only ribbon loops, you know. She
calls them little pink dabs. So I had to say how Mrs.
Harding admired it."
I'm glad I don't live as close as you do," said Sue; it
puts my back up. Why, your bonnet's as plain as can be;
you wouldn't put in that bunch of roses at the side that I
wanted you to."
Indeed I wouldn't; it would have just spoilt it. I'm so
little, I can't wear so much trimming; it would have looked
quite common. Madam Grundy couldn't say but it was
pretty laughed Chatty.
"An' vera becoming," put in her husband, slyly.
"Yes, Davie, it's becoming to my face, but not to my
station!" said Chatty, merrily. "But," she added, more
seriously, I don't believe I do dress unbecoming my station,
"I'm sure," said Sue, "I've no wish to be above my station.
You're dressed much quieter than me-just look! But, for
I Keeping." 7
all that, you're finer; you aim higher, and I shouldn't like any
other girl I know that did."
"Why not?" said Chatty, cutting bread and butter with a
"They'd be affected, and hold themselves higher than me.
I can't be condescended to; I don't like it from ladies, and I
can't put up with it from anybody else. If ever you set up
to be superior, Chatty, I won't have no more to say to you.
You are, but you mustn't set yourself up."
No," said Chatty, but I mean you to be superior your-
self, Sue Shirley, and you're to bring up the baby in a superior
manner, else, you know, she won't be fit company for Lotty.
Davie, will you come to tea ? it's just ready."
"I oughtn't to stop," said Sue, accepting a cup, neverthe-
less. It's so nice and comfortable here, and I'm in such a
mess at home. I thought I would have a big wash, and
everything nice for this christening, and I've tired myself out
and haven't done yet; and now it can't be done on Suhday."
"Let us think a bit if it couldn't be managed," said Chatty,
Sue was inclined to give it up for the present, but Chatty
talked and planned for her, and even proffered herself and
David as sponsors, till she brought her to consent, "if Sam 'd
take the trouble to speak to Mr. Harding."
"Of course he will," said Chatty. "I know he'll take
plenty of trouble for you and baby."
Well, I hope so," said Sue; but he's that idle when he's
not in the fields. But he does think everything o' baby. He'll
come to church to see her christened; that's one good job."
"And he'll come regular afterwards, you'll see," said Chatty.
And then Sue entered into a long explanation of the various
articles of dress to be worn at the christening, and Chatty put
in a word now and then, but evidently her thoughts were
somewhere else. Coming home with her husband in the twi-
light, she began-
David," said Chatty, more slowly and seriously than usual,
"I've been looking at the baptismal service, you see, and it
talks o' our profession-you remember-which is, 'to follow
the example of our Saviour Christ, and to be made like unto
Him.' Well, and then we've been talking ever since o' what's
suitable and becoming and all that; and it made me think that,
I suppose, that's the bottom of it."
Weel ? repeated he.
"You always say that, Davie You ought to tell me what
I mean. I've got the tail end of it, and I can't explain.
Why, you see, we ought to lice suitable to our proJes.sion ; and
if we did, I think we should soon learn how to dress and
behave and all that. Do you know "-Chatty caught her breath
a little excitedly, for she seldom so fully spoke out of her inner
self-" do you know what Miss Jeanie once said to me ? She
was saying how we each belonged to God's household, and
that if we minded that we should have the right kind of self-
respect; and then she said that she felt sure God wanted each
one of His household to make the very best of themselves in
their looks and ways, and dress, and everything about them-
not for themselves, don't you see, but for Him," ended
Chatty, letting her last words fall very softly.
"Ay," said her husband, also rather under his usual tones.
There was a few moments' silence; and it was only at last,
just as they came close to the lodge, that he said, gravely-
"Ay, Chatty, woman, I've been thinking that such a way
o' looking at oursels 'd make a handle o' difference. A man
like Shirley, now, if he could take up the notion, would feel
he was bound to get a' the education he was in the way o',
just to fit himself' better for the place that he'd had given him;
and men and women baith 'd be aye aiming higher, polishing
In Keeping." 9
themsel's up, so to speak, and not only French polishing, to
make a show before ane another. We maun try and pit the
notion into wee Lotty's head, my woman."
Chatty cuddled up wee Lotty" tighter in her arms, and
to herself she said that she would ask Another to do that, who
could do it better than she.
And so in due course the christening Sunday came, and the
double christening party assembled in the churchyard. There
was bright summer sunshine, and cool, restful shadows lengthen-
ing across the grass. And there were bright young faces, in
their light summer ribbons, suiting the day; for though Sue
would wear her favourite red roses, out of sheer independence
of spirit, her face was touched with a more thoughtful expres-
sion than usual; and Mary was quite subdued into quietness
by the presence of Chatty's eldest sister, Mrs. Laneham, and
looked very blooming and well-behaved in her quiet bonnet,
with that very small tuft of forget-me-nots, which was all
Chatty would allow.
And Chatty herself? Chatty had her little vanities, and at
another time she might have thought too much about the
sweet face she had lately seen in the glass, and which the pale
pink ribbons became so well; but just now her thoughts were
occupied with her wee Lotty" and the prayer that she
"might lead the rest of her life according to this beginning."
The bells were chiming, sweet cheery bells, from the old
massive tower, and she was glad that they did not linger any
longer chatting over common things outside, but walked slowly
towards the porch. Nevertheless, Hallow church was more
impressive outside than in. The church adjoined the Priory;
the Squire kept the churchyard in the same order as his own
lawns; he kept the building in repair, too, after his fashion;
and, though the red stone was here and there curiously patched
with brick, the veiling wing atoned for much, and the great
(253) A 2
to "i' Keeping."
tower, the relic of an old, forgotten minster, atoned for more.
Inside it was different. It was difficult to see anything but
galleries and square pews; and, if you penetrated a little fur-
ther, you found rows of narrow forms for the school children,
in the darkest corner-dark, but under Squire Grundy's keen
eyes notwithstanding. It was all the Sunday school-room, too,
that the Hallow children had; for I am speaking of a good
many years ago. Chatty Anderson was not a Hallow girl;
but both Sue and her sister associated all the little religious
teaching they had had, as. children, with those narrow forms,
the gallery overhead, the old tablets, decked with skulls, upon
the walls, and the Squire's peremptory method of teaching.
They both felt gladdened, whenever they went to church, that
that time was gone by for them; but they still regarded the
church, it is to be feared, chiefly as a place of constraint,
where the dull hours passed very slowly.
But no one was so sleepy as usual during this afternoon's
service-not even the children on the benches. The door
stood open, and the sunshine streamed in on the Vicar's white
surplice as he held the little things in his arms, and received
them into that holy family. To Chatty's mind it was so
beautiful that she could hardly help crying. And Lotty and
Ethel certainly suited their behaviour to the occasion and to
their white robes.
THE SQUIRE' S VIEWS.
AF'TER the service the ladies from the Vicarage met the two
young mothers in the churchyard, to offer their congratulations.
Chatty said, looking up a little shyly at Mrs. Harding,
" The service was so nice, ma'am. I think I never noticed it
so much before."
"i t Keeping." 11
"Yes, it was all nice," said Mrs. Harding, in her frank,
simple way. "And the godmothers and godfathers spoke up
so nicely." And she and Chatty smiled at each other.
I couldn't help wishing," said Chatty, "as our church was
nicer inside. It used to strike me so, when first I came; but
I've got used to it; only to-day, when Mr. Harding read so
beautifully, and Lotty looked so pretty on his arm, and
the sun and everything was so bright, the church didn't seem
quite fit-the inside, I mean."
"You're quite right, I think," said Mrs. Harding, smiling
afresh; and Mr. Harding would like to do something to im-
prove it-but I don't know whether Mr. Grundy would like
"No," said Chatty, "nor Madam. And it stands in his
garden almost; I suppose Mr. Harding couldn't go quite
against him ? "
He would be very sorry to do that," said Mrs. Harding;
"Mr. and Mrs. Grundy are both so kind always."
But I should think, if they could see how beautiful it
would look, they'd come round, don't you think, ma'am? I
wonder if Mr. Grundy ever saw the inside of Barton church."
"He may not like it, if he has. At his age people don't
generally like great changes, and nobody thought of restoring
churches when he was a young man. I'm afraid we shall
have to wait awhile "
So spoke Mrs. Harding, out of a strong sense of duty; but
Chatty's words had stirred up all her own wishes and longings;
and when, that evening, she and her husband and sister were
sitting in the garden, resting after their busiest day in the
week, she could not help telling them of what the little
woman had said.
And it isn't fit, Will," she urged eagerly. "Surely the
Squire could be made to see It isn't fit that his house, and
12 "In Keeping."
ours, too, for that matter, should be so nice, and the church
"Like a very tidy barn," suggested her sister Jeanie, in her
soft voice. Jeanie was tall and slim, delicate and shy; but
she had her own little bits of fun in a quiet way.
"Well?" said Mr. Harding, after the fashion of David
I really think you might try, Will, at least."
Ah! said he. "But, you know, I did try a long while
ago, in the dark ages before I was married, to get something
done about the church; and I've hammered at the Squire,
and at Mrs. Grundy too, about the school, once a month at
least. And I've never, so far, seen my way to do more than
"I know you have not," said his wife; "but surely the time
has come for you to use all your influence to put things right."
"That's just what I thought I did. I own I haven't the
high opinion of my influence that I had when I came here
first, but such as it is, I think, I've worked it pretty well.
But it does encourage one to find somebody in the parish be-
ginning to wish something to be done. That's a first-rate
little woman, is Anderson's wife, Sylvie She'll help to make
a public opinion in the village, I hope; and that's the way
all great measures are carried, don't you know ?"
Maybe," said Sylvia, but my way would be to carry my
measure with a high hand, and then when people saw the
good of it with their own eyes, they would think they had
done it themselves! "
Mr. Harding shook his head with a laugh.
I don't believe a sudden sweeping reform often answers.
You must put in the yeast, or the barm, or whatever you call
it, and let it work. That's what I'm doing. I put in a little
every time I go to the Priory But, nevertheless, I do think
In Keeping." 13
that I must speak to Mr. Grundy about building a school,
pretty soon. Old Mrs. Bingham's ill again; I've been to see
her since church, and she looks like breaking up. I never
liked to interfere with her school-it seemed like taking the
bread out of her mouth-but now I'm sure she can never
teach again. Can you go and see her to-morrow, Jeanie ?"
"But oh, Will! cried his wife with brightening eyes, "this
really is an opportunity To get the Sunday-school out of the
church would be such a thing and it might lead to the rest."
"We shall see! was all Mr. Harding would say. But
the next afternoon he called the ladies to come with him to
The Vicar was regarded with decided favour by the old
Squire and his wife. Mrs. Grundy was particularly fond of
him. He reminded her of a long-lost son, and she showed
her affection by lecturing him on his own sermons, and scold-
ing Sylvia for not taking more heed to his health. Sylvia and
Jeanie, on the other hand, got on best with the Squire.
Jeanie was his especial pet, though she could never quite con-
quer her shyness with him, chiefly because he was always
making jokes for her benefit, to which she could never think
of suitable replies. Mrs. Grundy, who was always vexed when
young people were afraid of her-as they generally were-pre-
ferred Sylvia, who was the more practical of the two, and had
more conversation on what Madam called "domestic subjects."
Sylvia herself, however, was a little nervous to-day. The
school question was a very old and sore trouble to all the
Vicarage party ; and, as Sylvia said once, half laughing, half
lamentably, Will would consider everyone's feelings, and there
were so many feelings to be considered!" Perhaps, on the
whole, he was more inclined to be tender towards the feelings
of old Mrs. Bingham, who gave the Hallow children all the
week-day teaching they had, than to t1e Squire and his wife,
14 In Kcieping."
who led the same children on Sunday. At any rate, he
thought they might be reasoned with, as the old dame could
not be. Sylvia could hardly talk about preserves while she
caught a few words about "a small school," a trained
mistress," and something of "the church;" and presently
Madam's attention was caught by a louder sentence from Icr
husband, as he put one leg over the other with an air of good-
"Harding," said the Squire, "you're a very well-meaning
young man, anc I've the greatest respect for you, the greatest;
but you want to ruin the parish."
"No, Mr. Grundy, I don't. I want to raise the parish."
Raise the parish! said AMr. Grundy, with uplifted hands.
And, pray, what'll you raise it to ?"
"To something better than it is now, I hope," said
Mr. Harding, laughing; but so long as it is raised, I shall
be quite satisfied. And really I think you will see that we
can't go on as we are. Positively, my proper work as a clergy-
man is hindered, because of the ignorance of the place. A
boy or girl will come to me for confirmation who can't read a
verse without stumbling six times, and without an idea who
And do you mean to say that's for want of teaching, when
Madam and I, and you and your wife, and Miss Jeanie there,
teach them every Sunday of our lives."
"But even you yourself, Mr. Grundy, can't teach the three
R's, and some knowledge of religious subjects, in two hours
a-week. It can't be done."
And what good'11 the three R's do to a ploughman or a
ploughman's wife ? I tell you, Harding, education isn't meant
for poor people; they're better without it! "
But can they read the Bible and say their prayers properly
without a little education ?" Sylvia suggested.
In Keeping." 15
"They can learn the Bible and the prayers by rote, Mr,
Harding; and the best way too. And I'll defy any boy to
forget a text that I've taught him."
Sylvia smiled, and was not inclined to dispute it.
"And, Mr. Grundy," pursued her husband, waiving that
part of the argument, "I'm afraid you don't see it as I do;
but I don't like keeping school in church. We are not among
a set of heathens, English or foreign, where you must begin
on the bare ground. We are all moderately civilised and
well-to-do folk, each after our kind, and our church ought to
be treated accordingly. As it is, I don't see how the children
are to grow up with right ideas of reverence, or understand
that it is not just a mceting-house or a preaching-house, but
God's house. You know what I think about churches. Mrs.
Grundy and I have argued it out many a time, and I'm afraid
she still thinks that a barn would do as well, if we were all
that we ought to be! But my notion is that in a parish
church everything ought, as far as you can, to be in keeping
with its sacred purpose-of course in keeping, also, with the
means of the people, but that follows naturally. We aren't
contented with barns and ugliness at home. Oughtn't we at
least to spend as much pains and cost on our church as we do
on our dwelling-houses ? Now, Mr. Grundy, I've been patient
these six years. Can't I start a subscription list at once
for the church restoration and a neat little school ? "
Mrs. Harding and Jeanie fairly held their breath. The
Squire held up his hands, but said not a word. Madam sat
up stiffly in her chair, and addressed herself to the delivery
of a lecture.
"Mr. Harding," said she, "as Mr. Grundy says, we have
known you for some time, and we have both a respect and a
liking for you. But you're young and misled, and I'll tell
you what you'll do if you're allowed, You'll over-educate
16 In Keieping."
the poor till there'll be nobody to do the work, and you'll lead
the parish to Romen. And as I'm old enough to be your
grandmother, it's my duty to tell you so."
Sarah," said Mr. Grundy, getting up and walking to the
mantel-piece with his hands in his pockets, "you're going
too fast, my dear. I've no time to put in a word before
you begin about your Popish notions, which I don't be-
lieve in myself-not a bit. Over-education, that's another
thing; I don't like the notion of that. But look here,
Harding, I'll never have anything to do with a subscription
list. I hate them. You can have one, if you like, but you
ncedn't bring it to me. If ever this church-which is, in a
manner, mine, you know-is to be mended up, restored as you
call it, I'll-I'll do it myself! "
There was an instant's silence from the universal astonish-
ment. Did the Squire really mean what he said? was the
first thought of each person, even his wife herself, who put
down her knitting, and gazed at him in amazement.
"What are you talking about, John ?" said she, reprovingly.
"You mean you'll keep it in repair as you always do, and have
done for more years than Mr. Harding has lived yet."
"I know what I mean better than you can tell me, Sarah,
my dear. But I'm not going to speak in a hurry. Only
Harding may make up his mind that that's the way it will be
done, if it is to be done. It's my idea of what's proper and
fitting in my position. And if I do it it'll be well done, if I
give up hunting for a bit on purpose."
"You take one's breath away, Mr. Grundy," said Mr.
Harding, beginning to realise that the old Squire did really
contemplate something more than the repairing and patching
to which Hallow church had been subjected for the last century.
"Well, John," said Madam, grimly, "if we all go to Rome,
then, I suppose it will be your doing." And after that, as if
In Kein .' 17
determined to say no more, she began knitting with double
"I have'nt said what I'll do, mind that, Harding," pursued
Mr. Grundy; but I'm turning things over in my mind, and
you can leave it to me a bit. If you want a subscription list
you can try your hand on the school, only, as I tell you, don't
bring it to me. But you leave the church to me. That's my
business, and I always attend to my own affairs without
troubling my neighbours. Who's the biggest architect now-
Mr. Harding suggested one or two well-known names.
"Perhaps I'll write to one of them, and get him to come
and have a look, and tell me what it would cost to put the
place to rights."
"A man from London, John!" exclaimed Mrs. Grundy,
moved out of her resolute self-control. "What can you be
thinking of ? He'll just ruin you, and turn the church into
a Popish chapel! "
"I'll take care of that, my dear. You leave it to me. We
have the church lands, and must pay for them; that's the
way I look at it-eh, Harding ? But you need'nt, any of you,
think that I'm going to be in any hurry; and I wouldn't have
said a word yet, only this poor young man had come so to the
end of his patience-and no wonder--with a crusty, old-
fashioned fellow like me !"
Mr. Grundy laughed heartily, and was in the best of
humours, delighted at the impression he had produced. Mr.
Harding was glad and grateful beyond his power of expres-
sion, although, of course, he knew that there might be diffi-
culties still; that the Squire was the likeliest man in the world
to quarrel with a first-rate architect, and that he had probably
little idea of the expense of even a partial restoration of such
a church as Hallow. Sylvia and Jeanie were in a suppressed
8 "fIt Keefiug."
ecstacy of delight; nevertheless, Madam's disapproval, silent
though it were, made them all glad to change the subject pre-
sently, and, as soon as an opportunity offered, the Vicarage
party took their leave,
THE WOMEN'S SHARE.
GOOD news sometimes flies faster than ill.
One Wednesday evening, about a month later, Chatty
Anderson, rosy with eagerness and the haste she had made,
presented her smiling face -at Sue Shirley's door. There, how-
ever, her first greeting was checked by the sight of Sue and
her surroundings. Sue was in her working-dress, her pretty
arms still showing traces of hot soap-suds, and her face so
clouded and heated, that even the appearance of her friend
could hardly restore her habitual cheerfulness. The house,
which, though usually clean, never attained the dainty neat-
ness of the lodge, was evidently in sad confusion, and little
Ethel's persistent outcries were heard at no great distance.
"Oh, dear Chatty she said, the place isn't fit for you
to come into. I'm so worried, I'm nearly out of my senses.
Yes, do come in; no, it doesn't matter about hindering.
When you're all behindhand, you may as well make up your
mind to it. And I'd a great mind to send over and tell you,
only there was no one to go."
What's the matter? said Chatty, anxiously, seeing that
actual tears had sprung into Sue's eyes. Baby's not ill ? "
Oh, no, nothing but cross, and I'm as cross as two sticks
myself! No, it's Sam; he's been and hurt his foot, and
we've had to have the doctor, and he says he mustn't put his
foot to the ground for anything, So there he is, and there
It Keeping'.7 19
he'll be, for days-weeks, I shouldn't wonder." Sue hastily
dashed her hand over her eyes.
"Oh, I hope not! WNhat's he done to his foot ?"
"The doctor didn't say. It hurts him above a bit, and he's
terrible downhearted and dull-like. I tell him he should keep up
more, or how am I ever to keep up myself? And he wants
so much done for him. He hasn't been up long, and I've
been up and down stairs every minute of the day, and that's
how I've got so behind; and he don't take his food well, and
finds fault at everything. I'm fair tired out, Chatty; I could
sit down and have a cry "
"Well, do, dear, if you feel it'll do you good. I am so
sorry Tell me anything I can do."
Sue laughed a little at Chatty's permission to cry, and the
laugh revived her.
"1 Why, you might look in and speak to Sam," she said;
"it'd save me, and you'll be more welcome. I look like a
regular slavey, I expect, and it'll raise his spirits to look at
something more cheerful."
"I'll just look in for a minute. I haven't above a minute
to stay, for Davie's mother's minding Lotty for me."
Chatty made her way to the little back parlour, while Sue,
with fresh energy, set to work to make what she called "a
Sam responded Come in when she knocked, and there
he was, looking forlorn as only a disabled man can look. A
woman seems to adapt herself so much more easily to circum-
stances. It was a little, dull room, too, facing north: it
would have been more cheerful on a winter's evening with a
nice fire. Sam was in an arm-chair, with his feet on another,
and he looked as if he had not a single hope or interest left
in the world. He did not even perceptibly brighten at first
at sight of little Mrs. David Andaerson; and Chatty, who had
20 "In Keeping."
entertained a passing idea of diverting his mind with her news
about the church, found that the only way to rouse him and
do him any good was to give her full attention to his accident
and its results. By the time she had heard every detail,
bestowed her best sympathy, and ventured to laugh at him
gently for "making the worst of a bad job," he really seemed a
little brighter, and finally, before she left him, promised that,
if David could make time, he'd bring down the Midland
Gazette and read out a bit.
"That'll be kind of him, I'm sure," said Sue, who had
come in a moment before. I can't tell however Sam'll pass
away the time, with no books nor nothing. Men is lthat
"I never was so laid by afore," said Shirley. "It's a dread-
ful bad job, it is, to be forced to be idle, let alone the pain."
Isn't there nothing you could pass away the time with ?"
asked Chatty. I mind when my brother Tom was ill once,
he used to play the flute. It was a funny sort of music he
made, but it passed away the time."
No," Shirley said, shaking his head. I never played
no instrument. I were set to work when I were a little chap,
and never had no chances. I wanted to be a carpenter. I
was handy with a knife, and always cutting at bits o' wood
when I was tenting birds. But my father wanted me to be
bringing in summat, so I was put to ploughing instead."
Well, I must go, Sue," said Chatty; "but I won't forget
about the paper. Oh, and I've never told you what I came
for! And she eagerly related what Miss Jeanie had told
her, "how the Squire meant to restore the church his own self,
and a great architect was coming down to look at it and
prepare the plans."
Chatty told it with such delight and rapidity that she took
Sue's sympathy by storm, though she hardly understood what
I Keeping." 21
there was to be so much excited about. But while she was
exclaiming and questioning, her husband kept silence, and not
till Sue had done did he begin-
"An' whatten's the use o' spending such a mint o' money
this how ? Church is tidy enough already."
"It's tidy, but it's so ugly inside and uncomfortable, Mr.
"It's abit dull like. But that's the way wi' churches, mostly."
Chatty exclaimed at this-
You should go and see Barton church, Mr. Shirley, or
even Stacey; and our church might be better than any of
them, only the inside doesn't suit with the outside. It isn't
like what it ought to be, a bit," pronounced Chatty, decidedly.
"I think it's just what the Squire ought to do."
Well, I can't say I see much good in it, only a waste o'
Chatty laughed and shook her head. She had not time to
argue the point, but assured Sue she should have a great deal
more to say another day, and so hurried back to relieve her
Public opinion in the village certainly needed training. The
prevailing idea was that "there was no manner o' use in it ;"
but, anyhow, it was the Squire's business, and the Hallow
folk did not excite themselves much about it. Mrs. Cooper,
Chatty's mother, mourned over any change in the church of
her childhood. Her associations with the narrow benches and
the Squire's teaching were so old that they had become
pleasant, and she was quite sure the place would never seem
the same without the galleries. Then David's mother, old
Mrs. Anderson, went a step further. To her Scottish mind
there was something sinful in introducing beauty of any kind
into a place of worship. "It was a' vanity was her favourite
protest, "an' to her mind vanity in the house o' God was
22 t Keeping.
waur than vanity out o' it." Chatty expostulated without
effect, and at last was obliged to take David's advice and
"haud her tongue."
The sight of the great architect walking with the Squire all
round the church was the first thing that really stirred much
interest in the place. The Hardings trembled for the whole
scheme, fearing that at the last moment the Squire might turn
obstinate over some essential point, and the architect decline
to move further.
But, fortunately, the great man took a fancy to the hearty
old Squire and the Squire to him; and the Squire was so much
impressed with his learning and skill, that he allowed him to
take the command with less difficulty than might have been
expected. To restore the church to what it had been before
Henry VIII.'s days would have been to make it a small
cathedral, and was out of the question; but that part which
still stood, and which had once been the choir, was to be made
worthy of the single remaining tower. Even to do this, in the
manner the architect sketched out, would tax Mr. Grundy's
resources heavily; but he had not undertaken the work without
counting the cost. He did actually put down his hunters, and
laughed equally at the acquaintance who commiserated and at
the friends who extolled the renunciation. He said that he liked
to do one thing at a time-the church now and the hunting
by-and-bye, when he could afford it again; and certainly the
interest which he took in every stone was equal to anything he
had ever seemed to experience in the hunting-field.
A plain little school was being built at the same time. He
owned that when his church was all tidy he shouldn't want
a pack of dirty children in it (not that the Hallow children
were dirty); and Madam, whose high sense of wifely duty
reduced her to silence on the question of the church, showed
an unexpected degree of interest in the more homely arrange-
t In Keeping.^ 23
ments of the school. Old Mrs. Bingham had a stroke; and after
that, though Madam never quite went the length of owning
that the school was wanted, she would reply to her husband's
bugbear of over.-education by assuring him that she should see
to that, which meant, as she soon proved, that she should take
the school under her wing, and give all that Mr. Harding wanted
at the price of a good many lectures on elementary teaching.
Chatty was a good deal in and out of Sue's cottage during
these bright long summer days, even at the risk of being
reproved for gadding about" by her two guardians-in-chief,
Madam and David's mother. These two old ladies were a
great deal fonder of the sweet, bright little chatterbox than
they knew themselves, and for that very reason never omitted
a speech or a lecture when she afforded them the opportunity;
and between her dress and her child, her quick temper and
her merry tongue, opportunities were many. Chatty, however,
had begun to learn some hard lessons of patience and humility
before her marriage, and they were not quite forgotten now,
though she had not learnt them perfectly, any more than the
rest of us have. She was very penitent when she had been
betrayed into any disrespect, and often yielded in her sorrow
the very point she had fought for so stoutly. But she did not
yield in the matter of her visits to Sue, and David approved
her persistence. She was passing through a time of difficulty,
and she needed a friend. Shirley's foot kept him a prisoner
longer than they had thought for. He tried to use it too
soon, with the natural result; so there he sat day after day,
with nothing to do but think of his misfortunes. Sue took in
some washing, to make up for the loss of his wages. She was
very hardworking, and never spared herself; but when her
strength was over-tasked her temper and spirits failed. Often
she was too tired to care to tidy herself and her rooms when
her day's work was done, and yet the sight of the disorderly
24 i Keeping."
house and her own soiled dress vexed her, and spoilt the
comfort of the rest. If it had not been for the Andersons
things might have been yet worse. The Midland Gazette"
was a wonderful change to the current of Shirley's thoughts-
if only he could have read it for himself! Anderson, however,
was very good-natured in reading to him when he could
manage to spare the time; and sometimes Sue's father would
step in too, and the three would discuss and argue over the
topics of the day, without ever agreeing or convincing each
other. And then the sight of Chatty popping her head in,
often bringing Lotty, too, in her new perambulator, was like a
cordial to Sue. Sometimes Chatty brought a little home-made
dainty for Shirley, or a bunch of flowers; but Sue was just as
glad to see her empty-handed.
I should feel as if I was in a treadmill if you gave up
coming, Chatty," she said one day.
"I don't mean to give up coming! And, Sue, sit down
quiet, do. I've something in my head I want to talk over.
Have you been to look at the church ?"
No, indeed; I haven't time to go out."
You'd better try now, Sue. You'll feel a deal fresher. And
do try to get to the service next Sunday. You don't know how
odd it is going to church in the hall o' the Priory."
I'm so tired on Sundays! But perhaps I can manage next
"I'll come and fetch you.- But oh! Sue, do you know what
a notion I have in my head? I seem to think we ought all to
have a share in the church-don't you ?"
"No, I don't !" said Sue, laughing; "I seem to think it's
Squire's business; and a good job too, I'm sure."
But, Sue, you listen. I'm going to tell you a piece of Mr.
Harding's sermon last Sunday-the first service out o' the
church, you know. The text was: 'And who then is willing
In Keeping." 25
to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?' That's
what King David said, you know, when he had got everything
ready for building the temple. He'd done the greatest part,
you see-but he invited the rest of the people to help as they
could. Do you see, Sue Shirley ? The Squire is like David."
Was that i' the sermon ?" said Sue, mischievously.
"You attend to me, Sue; I'm giving you the sense. Mr.
Harding said our church was now to be made more fitting the
worship of God; but we were not to sit idly and let it be
done for us, as if we hadn't everyone something to do with it."
"I can't see as we have, all the same. Why, the church
belongs to the Squire."
"Why, Sue! said Chatty, softening her gay voice, "it's
GoD's House; and in a manner it's ours; Mr. Harding said
it belongs to anybody who goes there to meet GOD."
Sue was a little awed by her friend's manner, even more than
her words. She murmured, turning to do something for her
child, that "she didn't understand all that." There was a
minute's silence before Chatty resumed, in a lighter tone-
"But I'm just coming to the best part. Mr. Harding said
ever so much about what the women did, when Moses made the
tabernacle. I never noticed before, and I'm going to show you
in your own Bible : look, it's the 35th chapter of Exodus-the
women, you see, that were wise-hearted and willing-hearted,
gave their bracelets and rings, and did spin the blue and
scarlet and fine linen. And we mayn't all be wise, but that's
no reason we shouldn't be willing."
Only we haven't no such things as those, and we can't spin.
You're just talking nonsense."
"No, I'm not. There are some wise-hearted women in
Hallow, who would do as good as spinning-and that's Mrs.
Harding and Miss Jeanie. And they mwant to; Miss Jeanie
said they'd like to work some cushions-for the communion-
26 In Keeping."
rail, you know-and some other things like that, so as to have
everything in keeping; only it costs more than they can afford,
with all they have to do. Sue, we haven't much to give-but
couldn't we make a little collection just among our friends,
to help buy the things for the ladies to make ? "
Sue, rather open-eyed, repeated her former verdict of "Non-
sense But Chatty's enthusiasm had some effect, and as her
friend enumerated the persons she meant to ask for small
contributions, such as her mother and the Vicarage servant,
she said, in her downright way-
Well, I can't see why you bother yourself! And money's
scarce, just now; but you shall have a shilling, if you really
Chatty said sixpence was all she meant to ask; but Sue was
resolved, both for pride and friendship's sake. Chatty engaged
to come and claim the money, when she had tried what she
could do with her other friends.
Accordingly she paid a good many visits during the next few
weeks, as she could manage it, and the little purse she had
set apart grew quite fat-partly with pence, but some silver
too. People were not usually badly off in Hallow, unless they
had "a long family" or much sickness-or unsteady wages.
On the whole, Chatty prospered. She had a very taking way
with her; her eagerness was infectious; and she only asked
her personal friends. She had secretly entertained a higher
ambition, of begging every woman in the village for a smaller
or larger sum,-and then she pictured herself carrying quite a
goodly store to Mrs. Harding, from the "willing-hearted"
women of Hallow. Chatty's dreaming days were not quite
over yet. But she found, like most eager workers, that as
her work became known, some thought she was doing too
much and some too little; and both these views were combined
in the criticism of a certain Mrs. Clarke, who gave it as her
In Keeping.' 27
opinion that Mrs. Anderson hadn't no call, as she could see,
to go about collecting at all; she thought, for her part, it was
very forward of her; but if it was to be done at all, it ought
to be done thorough; not one here and one there, as you might
say. She didn't know what she'd done to be left out, when her
daughter 'd given a shilling, which was more than she could
rightly afford with her family "
Chatty was very angry at first, when Sue, acting on the
popular theory of friendship, told her this disagreeable speech;
then she cried a little; and then she recovered, and laughed
over it, and very wisely made up her mind to take her modest
little collection, just as it was, to the Vicarage, and tell Mrs.
HIarding that "there were plenty more would like to help if
only she would ask them. But they'd think it was setting
myself up if I did, ma'am, and it does seem more fitting you
should, if you did'nt mind !
Mrs. Harding was much pleased, and she did set forth col-
lecting on her own account in consequence. And she found in
most cases a readiness and even forwardness to give, which
quite surprised her.
"Public opinion is growing, William! she told her hus-
band. "They're quite pleased to be asked. We can order
our patterns, Jeanie. I should like to show them what we
fix upon at the mothers' meeting." And she carried out her
wish, and "the mothers' interest was fully roused by the sight
of the beautiful colours and patterns-the materials they had
helped to buy; and they spread the fame of them far and wide.
But this is anticipating. When Chatty had given up her money
and received a formal receipt, she had another request to make.
Ma'am, I wonder if I might ask about something. Perhaps
it wouldn't do, but I keep on thinking about it. It is about
Sue's husband. He's took up carving lately, while he's been
laid up; he was used to be fond of it, and Anderson helped
28 In Kceing."
him to some bits of wood and patterns, and so did Mr. Mason
(the carpenter), and you'd be surprised how nice he does it.
I brought this little frame to show you."
"Really, that's very pretty," said Sylvia, half expecting to
be asked to buy it-yet that was not quite like Chatty.
"It's been such an interest to him," went on Chatty; "and
I couldn't help thinking--"
Does he want to try and sell them ? "
"No," said Chatty quietly; "he's nearly well now, and
getting back to work ; no, it was only that I was thinking, if
he'd like to do some little thing for the church-a plate, you
know, or a box, do you think he could, ma'am ? "
"A collecting plate, you mean, Chatty."
"Yes, like I've seen in Stacey church; it was quite a
common man carved those."
"I don't see why he shouldn't; it is a good idea," said
Sylvia. Did he think of it himself ? "
I think it was him and Davie and me between us," said
Chatty. "I never thought he cared much about the church;
but we've been talking so much about this money, Sue and
me, and Mary Knight too, he's got to take more interest; and
the first days he was out he got standing about watching the
work, and at last he said one day he didn't see as the women
ought to have a share and not the men; so then I thought
of the plates, and Davie said I should ask you. Oh! and,
ma'am, while I think of it, may I tell you about Mary
"She has got a place, hasn't she ? "
"Yes; and, just before she went, she came and told me she
hadn't anything to give. I told her I knew she couldn't have;
but she was as near crying -as could be, and she said she
had had sixpence for me, and she'd set her heart on giving it,
but just at last she spent it on getting some stuff to make a
In Kceeping." 29
pinny for Sue's Ethel. I said I should tell you, for I thought
she'd done quite right; and she said I wasn't to."
"I'm glad you did, Chatty; there's a great deal of good in
"She was just ready to cry, ma'am! And she thinks a
great deal of the church, more than Sue, because Sue holds by
what she's used to."
There is not space here to tell the full history of how
Hallow church was restored; because, before it was done,
nearly everyone in the place l ad a hand in it, according to the
Vicar's wish, and of course everyone put his hand to it in his
own particular way. Shirley said "he didn't see as lhe could
do nothing of that sort." But Sue reported that "he kept
on at his carving of nights, and she thought he had it in his
head." And finally, Shirley stopped his horse and cart one
day as the Vicar passed, and said, Mr. Harding, sir, I've a
question to ask, if you've no objection."
"Eh, Shirley ?" said Mr. Harding, surprised but rather
Shirley plunged into his subject at once.
"Would you look in at my house some day, master ? I've
been a carving some little things for my missus since I were
laid up, an' I shouldn't object to try my hand on plates or
some such for the new church, if you thought well. Plates
for the money, you know. Them old 'uns ain't good for much.
Only I don't know if I'm equal to the job. If you'd look in,
the missus 'd show you."
This led to much closer intercourse between Shirley and the
Vicar than anything that ever happened before. Mr. Larding
encouraged him as he could very well do, and borrowed one
of the Stacey plates to show him. But then arose a difficulty.
This here's some sort o' writing," Shirley said, turning
the plate round in his hand.
30 In Keefing."
"Yes: 'Freely give;' ah, you can't read !"
"No," Shirley said, gravely.
Well, Sam, try your best to copy this, and get your wife
to watch you do it right, and teach you your letters, and I'll
look in and keep you straight."
So Shirley worked at his plates with infinite pains and
anxiety, and they were ready by the long delayed day of the
opening. And Sue privately told Chatty, "she thought the
carving'd send him to night-school next winter." This was a
profound secret between the two young wives, but it was no
secret that Shirley had "come out in quite a new light, so to
speak," as James Harvey said, with the twinkle in his eyes
that always made his audience laugh, whether they saw the
joke or not. Now he'd took to church work, he were conform-
ing himself, and conducting himself accordingly."
This meant that Shirley had joined the choir, on private
agreement with the Vicar that "Sue should learn him his
words;" also that he was developing a turn for observation,"
as Harvey said, which grew out of his carving; for he was
deeply interested in the capitals of the church pillars, free now
of their coat of clean whitewash, and began to copy leaves and
acorns, and the like, in imitation. It amazed Sue, and delighted
Chatty and David. David told her Shirley was getting to be
" quite company for a thinking man."
It was the day of the opening-another fair June morning;
and once again the old christening party were assembled in
the churchyard long before service time, waiting for the bells
to strike up, and watching for the Bishop's carriage. There
was Chatty, in the self-same ribbons, for she could not spare
the money for fresh ones, now that there was Lotty to find
braveries for. Sue had on a new bonnet, but that was her
sister Mary's doing. Mary was in a good place, with good
wages, and was always ready to spend; as she said herself, "if
"In Keeping." 31
it wasn't for somebody else it'd be for herself, and that'd
be worse;" and she was bent on making Sue's toilette worthy
the occasion. So Sue, thinner, but brighter-eyed than formerly,
was looking quite pretty in the absence of the red roses.
Shirley was there as well as Anderson, for the farmers had
given a holiday in honour of so great an occasion; and his wife
told him "she knew he thought a very deal more o' his plates
than o' all the rest-even the Bishop!"
"But," she added, turning aside with Chatty, "them plates
have give him a lift, there's no denying. It quite passes me to
see him so took up of an evening. He don't say much, but
I'm sure he's got the wish for a bit o' education now."
I feel as if the church had given us all a lift," said Chatty,
Even old Bechy in the almshouse !" laughed Sue; "why,I
see her actually cleaning up last night, and we passed her
setting out this morning with a new ribbon on her bonnet!
But as to you, Chatty, you needn't talk! You were miles
high to the rest of us, before !"
Chatty laughed too; it was the only way, she said, when
Sue talked nonsense; and she could not speak out what she
felt-that out of the old notion of things being suitable and
fitting, and from the daily sight of the old church growing day
by day under skilful hands into "glory and beauty," she had
gleaned lessons of a higher fitness-a fitness of more than out-
ward show-some glimpses of the "beauty of holiness," that
holiness "without which no man shall see the Lord." She
could not talk of it to Sue, at least, just now. She wanted to
be silent and think it out for herself. The bells were being
raised one after another, as they stood together in the shade;
and just as the first joyous peal rang out the Squire came down
the path with Madam on his arm. He had a private way into
the church-a door leading direct from his own hall, but he
3 2 "L I KCeeing."
seldom used it. It must be confessed that he enjoyed the
sense of consequence which was produced by passing so many
curtseying women and men touching their hats. (You will
remember that this was some years ago!) With the sun-
shine on his white hair and gold-tipped stick, he looked fairly
radiant to-day; and Madam was resplendent in black satin,
which was, no doubt, to do honour to the Bishop. Madam
never committed herself to any approval of the restoration
of the church; but "Honour where honour is due" was a
favourite precept with her.
"Now we can go in, Davie," whispered Chatty. And with
Lotty toddling on two fat feet between them, the young couple
moved towards the west door. It stood within a deep porch,
and around the inner arch were the words:
"Not unto us, 0 Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name
give the praise."
That verse had been the old Squire's especial choice. "For
you see, Harding," he had said in a moment of confidence,
"I'm a bit inclined to crow over the place, as if we'd done a
very fine thing-and it is very fine to my thinking! I feel
like that man in the Bible, don't you know-' This great
Babylon that I have built.' So I should like that put up in
plain letters, so that all the folks can read it as they go in;
English, mind, and plain letters."
Chatty had read it before, but she stood a moment to read it
again; and then her husband led the way, and presently she
was kneeling with hidden face, and asking with a full heart
that she and all she loved, to whom had been granted already
so much, might henceforth walk worthy of their Lord, and
come at last to that city where they need no created temple;
" for the Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb, are the temple
of it." That was Chatty's first prayer in the restored church.
1A "- ..T
o, '/ ow, M
--.,-- . - . .., .
"E- ,- "."- ',i"-- a .
I ..,K ..
. ,'.,,., - .,, - ,. ,-
WRONG IN HIS HEAD.
AM quite easy in my mind about Philip; lie's
all right; he'll make his way in the world
well enough: it's Mark I'm thinking of."
Mark! I thought he was such a good
"So he is in a way; but there's something odd about him
one can't understand. I sometimes fancy the lad's wrong in
"Indeed! that's bad, particularly as he'll have to earn his
own living; but what makes you fancy that ? "
Well, I can't exactly say; I see so little of the lads, you
know; but people tell me he's dreamy and queer-lets the
other boys in the school bully him at times-take his
possessions from him, and never seems to care."
"Afraid, perhaps, to show fight ? He hardly looks as
robust as his brother."
"Afraid-? no! That's another queer thing; the boy is
utterly devoid of fear. Look at that affair of the mad dog at
the school-house. You heard of it. A perfect panic. Mark,
over his book, looks up to find the place deserted-only the
master's little girl left in the playground with the foaming
beast. In a second he has found his opportunity, seizes the
animal by the back of his neck, and holds him tight till the
schoolmaster, who has run for a gun, comes back. 'Now
2 Wrong in his Head.
then, steady, fire !' says the lad, never loosing his hold for a
minute. No, he's no coward, isn't Mark Havers."
Ah, yes! I remember that occurrence; it did the lad
credit: Perhaps he isn't good at book learning."
"Too good, I sometimes think. They say he seems to be
wrapped up in what he reads and thinks."
"A bookworm, perhaps ?"
"No, not that; the schoolmaster says he'll spend his
holidays roving about the hills, or lying on the grass doing
nothing. He must be an odd chap."
"What do his schoolfellows think of him ? "
"A few call him a fool. The little fellows all like him. I
don't find that he is very intimate with any particular chum.
One boy told me he believed Mark was 'really good'-a
phrase schoolboys aren't apt to use one of another."
"Well, well, the lad doesn't seem vicious, at all events; and
if he's deficient in worldly wisdom, that will come with years.
I confess I am much relieved to hear so fair an account of
poor Havers' children. It was a sad thing he and his wife
both dying of cholera the week these twins were born."
"Yes; but I think we did well in letting Jones here have
the charge of them; he's a decent fellow. He it was who
wrote to me, you know, of his own accord, to say that the boys
had got all the good they-could out of his plain village school;
and he suggested, if they were meant to make their way in
the commercial world, or in professions, that they should be
moved to some better school."
What do you think of making them ? "
"Well, one naturally fancies one at least would follow in
his father's steps and be a schoolmaster, but Philip says he
should not like that occupation; he would prefer a trade."
"And Mark ? "
Mark shakes hishead. 'Imust learn,'hesays,'not teach.'"
Wrong in his Head. 3
"I must say the little chaps have their own ideas on the
Yes, and I don't want to force their inclinations. Sup-
pose you and I, as co-trustees, give them two or three years
more in a sound commercial school. There's a capital one in
Froster. I'll give an extra 20 a-year towards it for that
time, and the rector will help, I know. He had a great regard
for poor Havers, his old schoolmaster."
All right, I leave these things to you; count on me to do
as you think best. My train ought to be up now. Good-bye,
Good-bye, Robinson! I shall be off in a couple of hours
too. Meantime I'll have one more talk with our charges."
"And screw that little lad's head round if you can; it's a
bad thing for a boy with his bread and salt to earn to have a
crank of any sort."
I'll do my best, never fear."
And so those well-meaning and prosperous tradesmen, Mr.
Smith and Mr. Robinson, parted-good fellows both, and
earnestly desirous of doing their best for an old friend's sons,
for which purpose, indeed, they had paid this flying visit to
their native place, Roleston.
George Havers was a clever, quiet, village schoolmaster, who,
after twenty years' steady work in Roleston parish school,
married the girl of his choice, and looked forward to the best
part of his life to come. But he died the following year in a
cholera outbreak, his wife only surviving him three days.
Their twin babes lived and prospered, the schoolmaster elect
taking them in his charge. It was the simplest arrangement,
and it answered.
Neither HT rers nor his wife possessed near relatives. A
very modest um was all the twins could call their own, and
this was carefully left to accumulate for them by a few kind
4 Wrong in his Head.
friends, who, at the same time, agreed to provide them with a
good plain education, such as would fit them to earn their own
It was necessary to give this slight sketch of the boys'
childhood, but it is not with Philip and Mark Havers, as
children or youths, that we shall have to do; it is as grown
men, one wrong in his head," that they come before us.
Time is the quickest traveller I know. Before Messrs.
Smith and Robinson had thought seriously again of their young
wards, they were well up in the Froster Grammar School,
spending their holidays at Roleston with the kind Jones's, and,
in a mere span of months and years following, they were big
fellows ready for real work.
Each chose his occupation. Philip accepted a clerkship in
Mr. Smith's shipping concern in Liverpool; Mark stuck to the
Yorkshire moors and dales, and in his queer way chose a
much lower position in the office of Messrs. Grange, coal
owners, in his old neighbourhood. You could see Roleston
parish church in the distance from the pit mouth. Philip
would laugh scornfully, and say he supposed that was why
Mark chose the place.
The elder brother still retained the idea that had gained
ground with some people in early days, that Mark was soft,
wrong in his head, not awake to the main chance-or whatever
you like to call it.
What else could one think ? Hadn't Mark refused a first-
rate offer in his time-no less than to be sent to college, and
educated with the view of taking Holy Orders ? An old lady
had taken a fancy to the boy, and made him this proposal.
He first made her acquaintance on one of the rare occasions
when he had spent a day at the sea-side. An excursion train
from Manchester to the coast was to stop at Roleston and take
up passengers. Philip and Mark, as quite little lads, were
Wrong in his Head. 5
permitted to join the excursion. The train had been chartered
to carry a Manchester ragged school children for a day's pleasur-
ing on the sands. Philip held himself aloof from the motley crew,
but, long before Shelborow was reached, Mark was the centre of
an interested group. Something in him had attracted those
rough lads. Young though he was he knew all about the sea and
tides, could describe exactly where shells, seaweed, and shrimps
were likely to be found on Shelborow shore, and on arriving
at the place was willing to conduct a party there. Towards
the close of the day he was to be seen on the beach surrounded
again by his new friends, reading them a few sentences out of
the book he had brought with him.
At this time Mrs. Fortescue happened to pass by, and
noticed Mark's earnestness and his congregation's attention.
Good lad to be reading the Bible to your poor companions,"
Ma'am, it is not the Bible, it is a book about the sea,"
said Mark, respectfully.
I am sure I heard you pronounce the name of God," said
the old lady, a little disappointed.
"Yes, ma'am, I did," said Mark. "It was in my book."
"We axed him how the sea knewwhen to come up and down,"
said a bright little lad, the smallest of the party, and he says
we can't understand, because our minds are so small and God's
mind so great. But he says we shall know about it all some
day-when we gets up yonder," he added, pointing to the sky.
He was the only speaker; a bashfulness and constraint had
fallen on the little band. The visitor saw it, and moved on.
"He was trying to improve those poor children," she re-
marked to her companion, "though it was not the Bible. I
think he ought to be a clergyman when he grows up. I shall
find out all about him, and what he is intended for."
And she was as good as her word. She kept the boy in
6 Wrong in his Head.
sight till he went to Froster school, and; after awhile, she
made that proposal regarding his future career, but Mark
gently and decidedly declined it.
Hie gave no reason. I think because he had none he could
put into words. The idea floating in his mind was that he
was not fit for such a post-never would be. But he did not
say this. It might sound humble. He did not want his
words to sound anything that he could not live up to.
Mrs. Fortescue was vexed, and told people she had been
mistaken in the boy; he was not such an earnest character
as she had imagined. Mark only smiled when this was
repeated to him, but he was sorry when Philip called him a
fool. Philip didn't understand, however, and when people
don't understand they are apt to make mistakes.
The lads were tall, straight, well set-up fellows. There
was a rumour that poor Havers had had gentle blood in his
veins. Philip was handsome. Mark certainly didn't look
"wrong in his head," though his eyes had a peculiar far-away
gaze that attracted attention. He was generally silent, but by
no means sad. Indeed, Philip was far more subject to moods
and ups and downs of spirit than his brother.
Still Philip's list of friends was the longest. Mark was
kind and obliging to all, but was not on intimate terms with
many fellows: he seemed to be ruled and directed by some
motive power different from theirs. He occasionally fished
and cricketed, and laughed and talked as they did, and now
and again the young men had jolly times together, and found
Mark capital fun. But by-and-bye, when the same things
continued to occupy their thoughts, lo! Mark had escaped
their grasp, was out of their reach altogether-a nod and a
cheerful excuse all they could get out of him.
This puzzled them. Some were vexed with him; some
called Mark by Philip's name for him-fool; others-a very,
Wrong in his Head. 7
very few-got to the root of it all, and saw the why and the
wherefore, and the puzzle became disentangled, and the
But this only happened very occasionally. So the days
went by, and the lads became men, each sticking to the work
he had chosen.
Philip daily became more valued by his employer as a
hard-working, pushing young man.
A few visits had been interchanged between the twins, but
only a few. Philip had chosen to feel greatly affronted with
Mark for refusing to leave his occupation at Mossendale for a
very superior post in a South American mine.
"The fellow is utterly devoid of spirit," said Mr. Philip
Havers to his associates in Liverpool. "I took pains to
ascertain that it was a bond fide concern, and, knowing Mark's
scruples, I made sure the principals were men of standing and
integrity. Now, just as everything was shaping to furnish
him with a superior position in life and a large salary, he
sends me word that he has no intention of leaving Mossondale,
and that he has more than enough money for his wants. I
never shall understand the fellow."
"What does he do there?" asked a junior clerk, who
wished he had a chance of changing his monotonous office
work for a fling in South America.
"Where ? Mossendale ? Oh, the usual coal-pit work-
in the office, down below overlooking the pitmen, half overseer,
half chimney-sweep," scoffed Philip, rather bitterly. "He'll
never rise, never be rich; Mark gives away all he gets, I
"Goes in for being a saint, perhaps," laughed a young
"I don't know," said Philip; "he never preaches, in a
gown or out of it. There is that good about Mark. But
8 Wrong in his Head.
there! don't let's talk of the fellow, it puts me out of patience;
he might do so well for himself if he'd only stick to the
realities of life instead of going dreaming through it. Well,
I suppose I must let him grub on in his own way, but it is
"When you drive your carriage to have to pass your
brother in the gutter," said the junior clerk.
"Mark will never be in the gutter, but he is short of
ambition," said Mr. Philip Havers, drily. He did not approve
of a mere office lad speaking so lightly of his brother.
For Mr. Havers meant to soar; he meant to drive that very
carriage to which young Brown had alluded. He was a man
who saw his aim before him from daybreak to sunset; wealth,
importance, station-all these he meant to win. His bodily
and mental energies were strained to the attainment of these
goods; he would have them, too, and it did secretly irritate
him to think that Mark, in that bright time to come, might
disgrace him by continuing in the position of a mere drudge.
A WELL-APPOINTED breakfast-table in a gay little villa on the
outskirts of Liverpool. A golden-haired woman, with pink
cheeks and pink morning-gown, is pouring out Mr.. Philip
Havers' coffee while he reads his letters.
A sudden exclamation, and the letter was dashed down on
the table, but not in wrath-rather in delight, though the
smile on Mr. Havers' lips was a little too like a sneer to be
"What now, Phil, dear? It's only Mark, is it ?" says
Mrs. Phil, negligently. Some new crotchet, I suppose ? "
"A new crotchet, indeed! is the answer. "You're cut out,
Mrs. Philip. And Mark has waked up at last out of his
Wrong in his Head, 9
dreams to do a sensible thing. He is going to be married, my
dear-and to an heiress.'
"Mark marry an heiress? What nonsense, Phil. Giv3
me the letter."
Take and read it, child. It's too good news to be true.
I was always afraid of the lad doing something horribly foolish
in his queer slow way, but it seems he has had his eyes open
all the while."
"I suppose she is old and ugly," replies pretty Louise
Havers, with a laugh.
"Not a bit of it, child; I've seen her. She's our old
curate's daughter, Doris Vane-lived at Roleston nearly all
her life. Her mother died the winter before last, and an
uncle died, too, about the same time and left her 30,000. I
remember hearing it when I ran down about that South
American affair. A quiet little brown-haired thing, she left
the village then, and I fancied she had gone for good. Sharp
of Mark to get hold of her."
Ah we shall hear of no more nonsense from him now,"
said Mrs. Philip, sagely; "this'll steady him, sure enough.
Thirty thousand pounds! why, Phil, that's 1,500 a-year!
Of course Mark will give up pit-work."
"And go and live in Devonshire, where Doris has had a
house left her too," said Phil. Mark is in luck; who'd have
thought he'd have been so clever "
Yes, but he'll have to give up his fads now," said Mrs,
Philip, shaking her golden head; she had been a small, very
small heiress too, and knew what was due to such people. A
girl with money expects a good deal to be given in to her, I
shouldn't wonder if she gets Mark to live in London."
"Hardly that," said the brother.
"Well, but he'll have to brush up, and go abroad, perhaps,
till it's blown over that she's married a pit overseer."
(254) A 2
1o Wrong in his Head.
"Mark's got a better position than that," said Philip,
quickly. "He's thought a good deal of down there by gentry
and all, despite his queerness. You don't understand,
Oh, I daresay not. Mark is not in my line. All my
people are in society, none of them a bit odd."
"I must be off," said her husband, wisely refusing to take
offence; "it'll be news at the office."
Phil! Phil! will they ask us to the wedding ?" called his
wife after him.
"I don't know, I daresay-look at the letter, I didn't half
read it," was his reply, as he ran down the pretty little gar-
den to catch the omnibus just rattling up.
Mrs. Phil, thus left to herself, did take up the sheet of
plain, small handwriting which so quietly conveyed the
momentous news. It ran thus-
MOSSENDALE : June.
MY DEAR BROTHER,--I am going to marry Doris Vane.
She and I are of one mind and one heart, and I think she will
help me in my life work. For awhile the fact of her possess-
ing a large income deterred me from asking her to be my wife.
I thought another sphere might be opened out to her, and her
lot cast far away from me, but it is not so, and we shall be
married in the autumn."
"At her own place, I expect," said Mrs. Phil to herself;
then her face fell as she read on-
We shall be married in Roleston Parish Church. Doris
goes to the Rectory. I shall stay with the Jones's. I can
get a room at the Bush' for you and Louise, and hope you
will be able to come over for the day. We do not mean to
Wrong in his Head. II
take any wedding tour, as just now I could not leave my
Your affectionate Brother,
"Not leave his work! Louise's pink cheeks positively
paled with surprise and disgust. Would Doris, his heiress
wife, permit him to resume his colliery work, and, if so, where
would they live ? Not, surely, in Mossendale, there was no fit
house there. Perhaps Mark meant to buy a share in the
colliery and become a millionaire. Yes, that was most likely.
It would give him something to do, and Mark must always be
busy. Ah! it was a wise thing to contemplate. Mark would
grow odder and odder left to himself. Now, with a nice young
wife, and money turning over every year, he might live in
Louise lay back in her wicker chair, and quite enjoyed con-
structing a castle in the air in which Mr. and Mrs. Mark
Havers were to dwell, and where she was to visit them, dining
off beautiful dishes, waited on by tall footmen, and driving out
in easy carriages drawn by prancing horses. It made her,
however, discontented with her own little villa, and almost
vexed with Philip. Hadn't he always said that Mark would
do no good in the world, and here he was ahead of her hus-
band! It was hardly fair on her.
Who could have expected it!" she said aloud for the thou-
sandth time, and then her mind rapidly reviewed the life of
her husband's brother as far as she knew it.
An odd boy at school, ridiculously careless of his rights,
one minutes apparently utterly destitute of spirit, the next
devising some extraordinary project which few could enter into,
but which, despite discouragement and loss of followers, he
generally managed to sustain in his own person; gentle and
12 Wrong in his Head.
retiring, but not to be laughed out of what he thought right
Philip had amused himself with Louise over the remem-
brance of half-a-dozen such schemes.
A crusade against drunkenness in the town enlisted Mark
among its soldiers, but his way of making converts chiefly con-
sisted in leading home the intoxicated, and constituting him-
self a sort of gentle guardian angel of the sinner. A little
boys' society for suppressing cruelty to animals was another
scheme; but his brother had many more, Phil declared, which
never passed the limits of the author's busy mind. Rumour
at school said that Mark fasted, and rose in the night to
pray for the sick and dying, but he could not be a saint,
for now and again he missed church, and he was rarely
known to speak of holy things. Mark only acted; his con-
duct was the sole sermon he preached to men, and some-
times they read it wrongly.
Just as school life was over, came that strange refusal of
a gentlemanly profession (this was Louise's way of putting
the matter), and the fancy for pit-work. Then she had
heard that he had thrown open the little cottage where he
lived to the colliers-his one sitting-room was theirs when-
ever thay chose to visit him. They might even smoke
there, though Mark never touched pipe or cigar himself.
Oh, he zwas odd-very odd-wrong in his head, she was
sure. And then for him to attract an heiress-a nice-look-
ing young girl! Louise had no words for her surprise
Luckily for her own quiet of mind she had her dress to
think of, for of course she would accompany Philip to the
wedding, and see for herself how things were settled, and
how the heiress was going to bring that dreamy, queer Mark
back to the beaten path trodden by everyone else.
Wrong in his Head. 13
Mark Havers never put truer phrase on paper, than that
assertion he made to his brother that he and his young wife
were of one mind and of one heart.
Doris Vane had for years looked up to, and, as far as she
could, quietly followed in the footsteps of the one man who,
as it seemed to her, knew what life meant, and lived his life
by that knowledge.
Other girls wondered that this girl was content in the quiet
village, and asked for none of the usual excitements and
amusements of youth; but Doris only smiled at their words.
The true excitement of life was hers, the Christian race she
was running interested her only too deeply. She wanted no
distractions. As young people, she and the Havers's had fre-
quently met. Kind Mrs. Vane made the orphan boys free of
her house in holiday time, and Doris had had many a pleasant
ramble with the boys, many an interesting discussion with
Mark. His earnestness found a match in the young girl; she
entered into all his schemes with the keenest zest.
His transfer to Mossendale never checked this friendship.
Gentle, invalided Mrs. Vane loved the strong young fellow,
who had her comfort so much at heart, and yet who refused to
join her friends in regretting to her that long and suffering
confinement to her couch.
"Why should I pity you ? he said one day. "You have
your work, and you are doing it bravely."
"What is her work ? said Doris, taking one of the wasted
hands in her own. She knew, but she liked to hear Mark
"' The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink
it ?'" said the young fellow, reverently bowing his head. We
dare speak such words before dear friends.
Then, as the sick woman began tremblingly to avow her
imperfect likeness to the great Sufferer, he stopped her gently.
14 Wrong in his Head.
"I know-we all know-all likeness here is dark and dim,
but the principle is there, that is all-the willing suffering, the
He was a frequent visitor to the little cottage in the last
patient days of dying which fell to the lot of the sick woman,
and Doris came to hunger for the sight of his calm face and
There is a little more for her to do on earth; try not to be
impatient, Doris," he would say, as he stood by the unconscious
"But she is past everything but suffering," the poor girl
would say, with a sob.
"Perfect through suffering, then-that is the work being
done," was the answer.
When Mrs. Vane died, Doris had not time to wonder what
would become of her, since her uncle very suddenly died too,
and left her, most unexpectedly, heiress to all his fortune. Of
course she quitted Roleston and the cottage at once, and took
up her abode in London for a time. It was necessary, the
lawyers said. From thence she went to Devonshire, to the
pretty coast village where her property lay. The house was
large and roomy, facing the sea, but sadly in need of repair.
Doris had lived so entirely alone with her mother at Roleston
that she had few friends in the world without, and yet she
needed counsel. She was -twenty-one, and could do as she
liked with all this money, with this large house; but she
longed for a friend to consult with, to hear her fancies, and tell
her they were not highflown and foolish.
Mark Havers would be such a friend. The Rector at Roleston
was a safe adviser. Just as Doris had reached the point of
wishing that she was a man, and could go straight to that
other man at Mossendale Pit for a half-hour's conversation,
came a letter from the Rector's sister, begging her to pay a long
L-' begin he to pa ln
Wrong in his Head. 15
visit to her old quarters. The plan fitted so well with the
young girl's wishes that she started at once, with the result we
already know-that Mark Havers asked her to be his wife.
The world wondered at a mere colliery official daring to
aspire to the hand of "a young lady with 30,000," but Mark
in all simplicity took his own way. Doris still thought with
him. The money had not changed her, it only gave facility
to the probable carrying out of many plans dear to both their
"The world will think you both wrong in your heads," said
the good Rector, smiling on the bright, strong, earnest young
couple, as they explained their ideas to him the evening before
"Never mind; if you are brave to bear such a misfortune,
who else need care ?"
But we don't want to vex the world," said Doris, looking
"Dear, we have left the straight road of thought," said Mark
quietly; "it isn't what the world thinks we have to do with;
what we think is rigIt to do is sufficient for us to consider.
Now sing us something, if you will; all the signing and seal-
ing of to-day wants singing away," he said, smiling.
The wedding went off capitally." So Mrs. Louise reported
to her friends. Mark was really a very handsome fellow in his
frock-coat-not so much style as Philip, but still to be admired;
and Doris looked lady-like in her plain grey dress and straw
hat-not a dress, of course, for an heiress ; but really the pair
had such odd ideas it was a mercy the girl had not chosen to
be married in her mourning. Then the breakfast at the Rectory
was very agreeable. The Marquis from The Towers was there,
and two or three others of the best of the gentry. Mark was
respected in his way, and, though Mr. and Mrs. Jones from the
16 Wrong in his Head.
school were present too, and Mr, Smith, a retired tradesman, she
believed, still the company was sufficiently genteel. Perhaps
Mrs. Philip Havers's enjoyment was heightened by the fact
that the Marquis was placed next at table to her, and was
kindly attentive to the pleasant-looking young woman.
After the breakfast came a children's tea, Doris's enter-
tainment; and later a pitmen's supper, but the newly.
married pair were not present, the Rector taking the chair.
And all this was as it should be, said Philip-nothing odd in
that; but he did hope that, by-and-bye, Mark would see that it
was his duty to look higher than this.
Yes, Phil, yes, I hope so," said Mark, with that dreamy,
far-away manner which used almost to irritate Louise.
You never know what he means," she would say, and she
was right as regarded herself.
Still the parting was very friendly when Phil Havers and
his wife drove off in the Roleston fly, and Mark and Doris,
according to a pre-arranged plan, started on a three-mile walk
to Mark's bachelor cottage.
It was thought very odd of him to bring the bride there,
but to have found a new house in a hurry would have been
very unpleasant; "and why should we begin our married life
with an unpleasantness ?" said sensible Doris.
The respectable widow and her young daughter, who had
been Mark's caretakers up to this time, need not be disturbed,
and, by-and-bye, they could arrange that larger establishment
which perhaps it would be wise to have.
So they took their quiet way through the ripe corn-fields,
Doris rejoicing that they met no one.
"And if we were to meet any one, we are doing no harm,"
said Mark; which was so true that both laughed, so as to
rouse Lucy, their tiny waiting-maid, watching for them in the
Wrong in his Head. 17
Only she did not do her duty and drop a curtsey to her new
mistress; instead of that, she ran indoors in shy haste to tell her
mother that master had come, and the new lady" with him.
AND now how did Mr. and Mrs. Mark Havers, that very odd
couple, behave themselves in their new sphere of married life ?
They'll just settle down like all the rest of us," prophesied
one and another. "Cranks and fancies are for youth, not for
steady married folk."
But Mark's first fancy held ground; he never gave up his
post in the colliery office, and Doris and he were very happy in
the cottage where he had lived as a humble bachelor. Still he
had an architect out from Manchester, and he drew plans, and
Doris and he spent long hours with their heads over the lined
and dotted sheets, and after a time Mossendale said, "They
are going to build!"
But where ? Not ten minutes' walk from the pit mouth!
Yes, it was actually true. There, sure enough, a fair-sized
mansion began to rise, well and strongly built, though not
There isn't to be a sham about the place," was the rumour
now; "no scamped work, no flawed stones, no grained deal to
represent walnut, nothing but what is real, good, true."
A small grove of fair-sized trees flanked the new house;
under their shade the ground was levelled and gravelled, and
in due course seats, benches, and sheltered summer or winter
houses began to develop themselves out of the chaos.
The house was curiously arranged, thought the casual ob-
server. "Surely this drawing-room is larger than you need ?"
openly observed a friend,
18 Wrong in his Head.
"Not too large for our purpose," answered Mark.
And presently the purpose was made manifest. This house
was truly the dwelling-place of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Havers,
but it was also to be a resort for the colliers. The great house-
room, as Mark called it, was to be their room whenever they
chose; honoured guests they would be, books and pictures
placed there for their use as much as for the master's. Doris
had a chair and table in one window, too, and sat there most
evenings while Mark went round and talked to one and another
of his visitors. In winter the room was well warmed and
lighted; in summer the guests seemed to prefer the pavilion
under the trees. In either place the big fellows might smoke
-to deprive them of their pipes would have prevented their
There were no lectures given in the room, no distinct attempt
to improve the men, but Mark found out the tastes of one and
another; and helped those wishful to improve, to bring to light
their sleeping desires for knowledge. A large telescope was
brought out on starlight nights to the astonishment and delight
of many. Newspapers lay on the tables, maps hung on the
walls illustrating them. Mark had one or two highly-educated
friends, who came quietly in and helped him in talking to and
interesting his men; Doris had a girl acquaintance or two, who
sang and played for the music-loving Yorkshiremen; and so the
oddly-regulated household lived on in peace and brotherly love.
Some smiled, some scoffed at it.
"Wait till the children come, this sort of thing can't go on
then," said all.
But the babies did come- one, two, three downy-headed
things, who trotted about in fair white frocks, and laid chubby
hands on the knees of their pit friends; and such rough words
as sometimes cropped up, despite place and surroundings, were
hushed before the master's bairns.
Wrong in his Head. '9
For Mark was master now; he and Doris had become part
proprietors of the Mossendale Pit. Mark found that, thoroughly
to carry out his plans, he must take this step. Without
desiring it, or making it in any way his object, he realized, too,
that he was becoming a rich man; but still, he neither added
to his house, nor altered his manner of living. His wife had
her pony carriage, he his light cart for use; no grand equipages
dazzled the eyes of Mossendale. Only the Devonshire house,
which, in the early days of their married life, had been repaired
and let, now falling into their hands again, Doris put in a plea
for her favourite scheme.
"I should like to take the children there for a few weeks in
every year for sea-bathing," she said; and, Mark, if you
think well, we might have poor little town children staying
there, too, for fresh air and feeding up. I should like that; it
would not be foolish, would it ?"
"Foolish! it would be very wise," said Mark, smiling.
"But we will begin quietly, and see what income can be
devoted to the scheme."
So Doris went down and looked over the old house, and
counted up the number of little cots it would accommodate,
followed everywhere by her own three darlings; and then she
chose her housekeeper, a child-loving, teaching-weary gover-
ness; and one summer's evening she drove a hay-carpeted cart
to the little wayside station to meet her batch of white-faced,
sickly London children, coming into the country for the first
time in their lives.
Oh how they enjoyed those weeks of liberty and country
joys, and how kind Doris's eyes shone as she saw the wan
cheeks colour, and the feeble limbs strengthen on the good
She had to leave the happy party in a short time to return
to her husband and the pit mouth, but Miss Wrench and
20 Wrong in his Head.
Rhoda, her eldest girl, of ten, would carry out her plans, and
receive, all through the summer and autumn, the fresh in.
stalments of city little ones.
C"Mark, GOD is too good to us to give us the power of
making so many happy," she said, as her husband met her
at Mossendale station.
He smiled a happy smile, which changed into one of intense
Child," he said, drawing a letter out of his pocket, "do
you know what the world calls our pet plans ?-madness!
You don't look mad to-night, my Doris, and I don't feel
mad, but Philip thinks it his duty to remonstrate. We
are ruining our children's prospects by this new fancy, he
We are not trenching on our original capital, are we,
Mark ?" asked his wife.
"No!" he said simply.
"And Georgy is to have the house and the colliery when
we have done our work, and Rhoda and little Hugh will have
sufficient portions; is not that enough ?"
"Quite enough for you and me and the children, but not
enough for society, Doris."
Oh, Mark you are laughing at me; you know we can
never quite satisfy Mr. and Mrs. Philip."
Then we are to go to the end of our days with our wild
scheme, are we ? spending our riches, not garnering them up,
to make our children millionaires ? "
"If you please, Mark," said Doris, gently.
"Then I must write to Philip and tell him so."
I am afraid that Mark Havers's letter to his brother only
made the latter gentleman more certain that the Yorkshire
coal proprietor was decidedly becoming more and more wrong
in his head, for Mark assured Philip that his money, far from
Wrong in his Head. 21
being squandered, was put out at the best interest; that his
children would all inherit large properties, and that Doris and
he never lost sight of the main object in life. In fact, we
are very careful, cautious, provident people, and next time you
come to see us I will make this plain to you. Meantime send
the lads down for a fortnight's canter on the pit ponies," was
the last line of the letter.
Philip's town boys enjoyed nothing more than a visit to
Uncle Mark. He was quite different to everyone else," they
said; but oh, awfully kind "
Ten years have gone by. Philip Havers has steadily
climbed up the ladder of life, and now he draws an income
little less than that of his brother. But there the likeness
between their lives ends. Philip lives in a much grander house
than Mark, he has more and smarter carriages, and his wife
is a much showier person than quiet little Doris. He is push-
ing his boys well, too: Edgar is just entering a cavalry regi-
ment, Lionel is at Oxford, Philip at Eton, his two girls are at
a fashionable school.
Mark's eldest boy is with him in the colliery office; Hugh
means to be a doctor. Rhoda has never been to school; she
is an intelligent girl, brighter perhaps than her mother ever
was, yet with all her mother's sweet staid content.
"These children have been shamefully neglected," says
Philip, but yet they have not turned out badly."
The cousins are fond of each other. Edgar has been a good
deal at Mossendale in his holidays; he adores Uncle Mark
despite his crotchets, he will tell you; and well he may, for
Uncle Mark has helped him over not one slough only of his
careless boy life-helped him with this world's coin, and given
him what was worth more, too, honest, kindly advice, which
the affectionate but reckless fellow tries hard to follow.
"Uncle Mark has got hold of the real thing somehow," he
22 Wrong in his Head.
said one day to his brother Lionel. "I don't know what it is, but
I'd give my commission and my new sword to get hold of it too."
"Religion ?" questions Lionel.
"Not what most people call religion," returns his elder
brother; a stiff sort of thing that always rides atop of a man,
and won't mix with his life. No, Leo, I don't mean that.
Uncle Mark hasn't got Sunday religion of that sort; what he
has, he gets up and goes to bed with, every day of the
week, he laughs with it, as well as prays with it."
Why, Edgar," remonstrates Leo, you're preaching quite
Yes, and Uncle Mark's the text. I don't want a better;
he inspires me. I love Uncle Mark," says the hearty lad; "I
wish I was like him."
Wonder what father would think to hear you say that!"
is the reply.
For Philip Havers, senior, still holds his old opinion about
Mark's wrong-headedness. Mark is always doing unbusiness-
like things, always neglecting the main chance for himself and
for his children, and it provokes the elder brother that yet he
is so quiet and happy in his odd life. Whether the fellow's
schemes succeed or no, he is never disturbed; if they fail, he
just starts again on much the same tack.
"I'm going to run down to Mossendale to-day," announced
the prosperous Liverpool merchant one morning to his stout,
but still pretty wife.
What for ? asked Louise, carelessly.
And, "What for, father? I'll go too," responded young
Lieutenant Edgar, home on leave for forty-eight hours.
"Business matter-capital thing," replied Mr. Philip
Havers. Don't suppose Mark will go in for it, but I think
he should know-one of our largest line of steamers-contract
for coal," he murmured over his papers.
Wrong in hizs Head. 23
"The pit's doing splendidly, isn't it ? asked the wife.
"Yes," returned Philip, absently; "but there's some talk
of a check. Mark wants to stop taking the coal out of the
What nonsense!" declared Mrs. Philip. "One of his
fancies, I suppose. I wonder he is not tired of them."
"I shall hear about it," said her husband. "I want a day
in the country ; the office tires one this fine weather."
Mark received his brother with the old smile of quiet
affection; perhaps it shone a little more brightly on his
admiring young nephew.
"You'll have to sit under the trees, though, this warm
day, and content yourself with Doris and George," he said to
the pair, "for I have made an appointment which will keep
me in the pit all day. Carlyon, the engineer, is here. I am
not satisfied about the workings approaching so near Marlmere
Pit, which was closed before my day as unsafe. I have found
an old map, which shows the exact locality of those workings.
The new maps seem to be in error."
More likely the old is wrong," said Philip. It's your
richest seam, isn't it, Mark ? It would make a great difference
to your incoming if you stopped work there."
Mark nodded, adding, "I must be off. Very sorry, Phil,
to leave you, as you come but seldom, but Doris there must
Look here, Mark, I'll go down with you," said 3Mr. Philip
Havers; "I shall enjoy it. I haven't been down a coal-pit
since I was fifteen."
You'll go down the pit ? said Mark, surprised.
"Yes, and I'll go too," declared Edgar. "Where's George ?
It'll be a lark. Come, too, Cousin Rhoda."
But Doris and Cousin Rhoda could not go, and objected
to losing both their visitors in the pit depth, so Edgar was
24 Wrong in his Head.
prevailed on to remain above ground, and the twins walked
off together, as fine a pair of men as might be seen on a
The engineer was already below, so they followed after,
assuming an overdress which should thoroughly guard their
clothes. Mark explained the case to Philip. He was fighting
his overseers. Fearing danger, he wished to stop the taking
of coal out of the rich seam under Marlmere; they thought
him an alarmist, and he had sent for Carlyon to settle the
Mr. Carlyon was in the underground office, with the two
maps before him. The discrepancies between them were
extraordinary; he had been employing some tests on the spot
in question, and he almost feared that the old reckoning-
( Is right," Mark broke in; I am sure of it. The men
must be stopped at once. Send word-or stay, I will go-I
should like to visit the place once more. Will you come,
Philip ? Don't hurry, Carlyon, take your lunch first; my
wife has sent you some."
And through the dark passages of the coal-pit the twins
moved on again, side by side.
Very grim and ghostly is a coal-mine at the best of times;
but Philip could bear the sight, since it meant wealth and
prosperity; and to Mark it was the spot where his daily work
lay, where the men given to his keeping chiefly dwelt.
They reached the dark vault under consideration. Mark
stopped work by a word, and ordered the men to another part
of the pit.
"There must be no risk run," he said, it answer to
murmurs. The very workers were proud of their splendid
seam, and regretted leaving it.
He lingered a little while explaining matters to Philip and
Waiting for Carlyon; then, as he did not appear, they begall
Wrong in his Head. 25
to saunter quietly back, following a crowd of grimy men and
boys towards the office.
All at once, without a moment's warning, a strange cold
blast of wind overtook them, so powerful that it flung them
all to the ground, while a low, dull roar in the distance told
of some disaster.
"What is it ?" cried Philip, trying to make his voice
heard in the wild chaos of sounds. Mark! Mark! where
are you ? "
Here said a quiet voice in the darkness, for all lamps
were extinguished by the blast. And then from the lips of
an old pitman came the despairing cry, "Master! mates!
save yourselves it's the water from Marlmere broke in. I
know the sound! it'll be on us fly for your lives !"
ILL news travels fast. That summer's day was yet in its full
glory when Edgar and George Havers, lying chatting under
the trees at Mossendale, saw a man run up in hot haste, with
a face whiter and more ashen than snow at dawn, and the
whole fatal truth was told in a gasp.
The pit was flooded-Marlmere had broken in-a number
of the men were caught by the water, among them the master
and his brother. A crowd of fugitives flying for dear life were
brought up the shaft by every cage, all telling the same story.
Mr. Carlyon was among the saved-saved as by a miracle,
for he was on the point of joining the party when the alarm
The poor lads fixed on him in their despair; he must, he
could rescue their dear ones. They were wild with agony.
And then, amongst the throng of weeping women and awe-
26 Wrong in his Head.
stricken men at the pit mouth, appeared two pale, breathless
creatures, Doris and Rhoda. They had heard the news.
"Go home, go home! you can do nothing here!" cried
"Hush, my boy! we can watch and pray," said his aunt,
in her quiet voice. Do you think I do not remember they
are in their Father's hands."
And after the first half-hour of almost paralysed anguish,
Doris did help. There were forty-five men missing, as well
as the master and his brother; and besides supporting the
mourners, arrangements had hastily to be made for the treat-
ment of such as might be rescued.
But, alas! the rescue seemed far off. Some, doubtless, of
the missing might be alive, but shut up in a far corner of the
pit, hemmed in by the waters, to die of slow starvation or
suffocation. It would take days to pump out the water, if it
could be done at all.
Young George Havers came to the front now-cool, calm,
almost stern; he would not be stunned by the enormity of the
You say the attempt to rescue is all but hopeless; there-
fore, there is hope. Set to work at once," he commanded, and
the engineer obeyed the lad.
One, two, three days of imprisonment in total darkness,
almost without food. Was this to be the end of "poor
Havers's twins?" Strange fatality that should link them
thus in the end as well as in the beginning of life !
Philip and Mark Havers found themselves the centre of a
little band in their part of the pit: fifteen men and one boy
all in a second brought face to face with death, and shut out
from communication with the world above.
They had all hoped at first; tried this and that passage,
Wrong in his Head. 27
only to be turned back by the relentless waters; and now, on
the third day, they had crept together to die, master and man,
without distinction, the pitman's thirteen-year-old child with
his hand clasped in that of Mark Havers. Philip was wild,
almost out of his mind in the anguish of despair; other men
-rough, ignorant fellows-joined their cries to his; the child
sobbed in chorus.
It was an awful moment; but if Mark's face could have
been seen in the darkness, the peace of heaven would have
been found illuminating it.
He had fought for life too, struggled and prayed for the
boon so dear to all, but the conflict was over. GOD'S will,
not his own, be done. Only one more duty remained: he
must calm this flock of frightened souls around him. Some
were praying for mercy, others asking a little longer life, and
promising their Maker service-worship-if He would only
spare them-a Babel of miserable outcries.
Suddenly a clear voice was raised among the crowd, and
Mark Havers spoke:-
"My men, be still, I have something to say; GOD iS
calling to you and me in this darkness. Let me answer
Him for you. Kneel."
He felt that every man knelt; he could not see them.
I cannot give Mark Havers's prayer here. Suffice it to
say he spoke to no angry GOD, but to a loving Father, One
who still cared for and watched over this frightened few on
whom His hand had fallen.
Then he rose up and addressed the men, quietly and steadily,
Philip listening as eagerly as the rest.
"My men," he said, many of you have not served GOD
in life, so you fear His punishment now. You have reason.
A child does fear punishment; it hurts him. But a
father punishes to make his child better, not to destroy him,
28 Wrong in his Head.
and GOD has sent you this punishment to better you. How
can you do better in this pit of darkness, do you ask ? I will
tell you. You can submit to His will, you can die because He
asks you to die. You need not fear death, however bad you
have been, if you are sorry and desire to repent now, because
Our LORD came to save sinners. Believe that, and try to copy
your SAVIOUR. How? By yielding up yourselves. You
have yet yourselves to give to Him in thanks for Himself.
You can give your spirit, your will. Lord, I give mine; I
give it ; Thou knowest."
The words broke all unconsciously from Mark Havers. It
was the last conscious sacrifice of his life-a life, rich man
though he was, he had secretly given up to sacrifice.
The words were followed by an outburst that sounded like
an echo from each mouth in the darkness-
"I give my life, too; LORD, take it."
Only Philip could not join in the cry; a wild impatience and
horror still possessed him ; he did not understand his brother
as these rough colliers seemed to do. He was not lifted up as
they were on the wings of rapturous self-oblation. He could
no longer speak to Mark either, and ask him whence came his
happy confidence, for Mark (probably the weakest of the party,
save the lad) had sunk down in exhaustion, and was now wan-
dering in mind, every now and then talking of far-away scenes
The pitmen listened to such murmurings from their beloved
master with bated breath. Even now he said things which
gave them comfort.
"I am glad I saw it from a child, that life is the road to
Heaven, not a place to stay in. I was always going on, on-
only a means to an end-and we must all die. Why not
now, thus- ? Wrong was I ? wrong in the head ? Ah,
well! wrong on earth may mean right up above, in the light.
Wrong in his Head. 29
Is the light come ? Ah, no A little while yet. LORD, I
will have patience. I thank Thee that Thou dost permit me
to give my life to Thee. Give it, my men; give it, and thank
GOD you have something to give Him," he said more loudly.
And the men cried again, like a response in service time,
"Yes, master, we give it. Amen, Amen."
They lay side by side, the poor fellows, chilled, feeble,
breathing every moment with greater difficulty the foul air of
the place. As the darkness counted other days and nights,
one and another grew more silent and colder, and his fellows
painfully carried the dead body to a short distance.
Mark was silent now, but still breathing; the boy's head
was on his breast. He had roused once to answer Philip's
agonised cry, Mark, I can't die; I am not ready to go," with
a satisfied murmur-
Don't be afraid, then; He won't take you."
And on that word the wretched man leaned as on a
Mossendale village was deserted on the sixth day after the
calamity. The rescue party were close to the imprisoned
miners, could communicate with the survivors, could even pass
in food and stimulants to them.
But, awful thought, hose beloved were among the dead,
whose amongst the living ? A little later and the cry went up
at the pit mouth, They are free; they are bringing them
up and a hush like death heralded the first drawing up of
the cage with the saved.
The little lad, utterly senseless, his face shining like a corpse's
through the coal-dust which grimed it, was the first to be
brought to the light; then a half-dozen colliers, all more or
less in a state of collapse; then the twin brothers. Mark was
dead, the whisper went round; Philip hardly conscious. The
30 Wrong in his Head.
rest of the party were quite beyond hope. Doris, after one
look at the beloved face lying on the stretcher, submitted
quietly to being placed by George in her pony-carriage and
driven back to the house, where all was ready for her darling
to be brought to her. The doctor had whispered in her ear
that he was still alive-just alive.
She needed to hear no more. She knew everything-knew
that he would only be given back to her for hours, minutes
perhaps-and yet she was calm.
Mark Havers died that evening on his own bed, a smile
of ineffable happiness on his face, his wife and the children
that GOD had given him round him. He had never spoken;
his last words had been those in the pit.
And Doris gave this also to her GOD-the offering of his
last words, which had not been hers, his wife's, but another's.
Philip Havers lay hovering between life and death for
many a long week. Doris nursed him most tenderly; she was
a born nurse. Louise, his wife, was but a frightened, anxious
woman. The "one that was left rose up from his sick bed
a creature in all respects different to the confident business
man who went down Mossendale Pit that awful July day.
Now he followed his brother's wife like a shadow, asking
her, "Tell me this. How did he do that? What did he
think of that ? Talk to me about Mark."
Yes, the proud man of the world would fain learn how the
brother "wrong in his head" had lived his life-would fain
tread in his footsteps before it was too late. And Doris was
ready enough to tell; it was like continuing Mark's work,
thus helping another. Had it been pain to speak of him she
would have done it, for she shared all her husband's feeling
of the glory and happiness of self-sacrifice. But it was not
pain; it was pure, unspeakable joy.
"I thought him foolish, and I have been the fool," said
Wrong in his Head. 31
Philip to this true woman. "Doris, what shall I do ? Is
there any hope for me ?"
"Philip," said Doris, gently, why was he taken and you
left ? "
"Because he was ready and I was not. I must make
ready," was the slow answer. What is that text, Doris ?
Be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not the
Son of Man cometh.' Mark wa always looking fbr Him,
wasn't he ? "
"Looking and longing," said Doris, with a smile on her
worn face. "Philip, I can't believe that his life is ended. I
don't believe it. I know he lives still the same warm, loving
life, only fuller, more real, and hidden from my eyes for a
"He was always happy? questioned Philip.
"Always," said Doris. How could he help it ? GOD had
given him so much joy, and the great happiness of being able
to work for Him. I think," she continued, with beaming face,
"he must have been the servant with the ten talents, who
made other ten, for so many have come forward in these last
days to tell of the good he has done."
He was rich-as rich as I am," murmured Philip.
"Yes; but the riches were all for GOD; he was only the
steward of them; he has often said so, and taught our children
"And I-I have trusted in riches," said Philip, bitterly.
Oh, there is a wide gulf, truly, between the rich man who
treats his wealth as a trust from GOD, and he who trusts in
the gold itself for joy and comfort in life!
Slowly and painfully Philip Havers came to realise this
truth, and to see that, rich man as he had been, Mark had
still chosen the better part of life, which death could never
snatch from him.
32 Wrong in his Head.
In the light of eternity how clear and right now seemed
Mark Havers's strange deeds; his lavishing of money on the
poor, his sharing of GOD's good gifts with those less fortunate.
Those foolish investments in mere charity schemes, at which
Philip had once scoffed, how wise they seemed now!
And self-denying as the dead man had been, GOD had yet
given him happiness in this world as well as the hope of
eternal bliss hereafter.
"I used to say he was wrong in his head, Doris," was
Philip's frequently repeated confession; but, oh how strongly
I feel now that he was in the right, while I was blinded by
selfishness, and pride, and self-seeking. GOD help me to learn
to live like Mark."
N" :-. -_-.
-. ., -. -I
.,. ;. .,- . -
-I-,, - I,,
. , . . -
A SAILOR'S GRATITUDE.
GOD scatters love on every side,
Freely among His children all,
And always hearts are lying open wide
Wherein some grains may fall.
There is no wind but soweth seeds
Of a more true and open life,
Which burst unlocked for into high-souled deeds,
With wayside beauty rife.
T was a bitter evening. All day long a keen east
wind had swept the busy streets of Liverpool,
and now that the daylight had faded away, a
sharp sleet was beginning to fall, which cut the
faces of those who ventured out, with a stab like that of a
pen-knife. The few people who hurriedly passed along the
streets were only such as were obliged to brave the elements;
of idlers or pleasure-seekers there were none,-nay, the very
street beggars had disappeared, having learnt by bitter experi-
ence that everyone that day was too cold or too hurried to
So that it was upon an almost deserted world that Mr.
Mordaunt gazed that evening from behind the wire blinds of
his office-a luxuriously furnished room, where an enormous
fire cast a brightness and a glow, which contrasted very
favourably with the leaden look of the outside world.
2 A Sailor's Gratitude.
Mr. Mordaunt stayed for a few minutes by the window,
then walked slowly into the outer office, where a confidential
clerk sat writing at a desk. He rose as his master entered,
and reaching down his fur-lined overcoat, said respectfully, as
he held it, "It's a bitter night, sir, and the wind is freezing.
Let me send the boy for a cab for you. It's a good step to the
"No no, Twist! many thanks all the same. I'll walk as
usual. Indeed, I would rather trust my own legs than those
of a cab-horse on such a slippery evening. Good-night to
you." And with a friendly shake of the hand, the young man
ran quickly away, and was half-way down the street before the
methodical clerk could frame another sentence.
It was a wretched night certainly one that was long remem-
bered by those who encountered it. The wind swept Mr. Mor-
daunt along a good deal faster than he wished, and at the corner
of the street two conflicting currents took hold of the unfortunate
merchant, wheeled him about as if he had been a shuttle-cock,
and finally threw him with some violence against a man,
dressed in sailor's clothes, who was coming in the opposite
"I beg your pardon," said Mr. Mordaunt, with a pleasant smile
of apology. "I am not so steady in a storm as you are, you see."
"Ay, ay, sir! returned the sailor, in a half involuntary
tone; and then as Mr. Mordaunt passed on his way, keeping
close to the wall, for the docks were at one side, and he had
no wish to be blown into them-a thing which has happened
before now-the sailor stood still and looked earnestly after him.
"I'll do it!" he said aloud, as he quickly followed in the
young man's steps. "I liked his face and his voice; and,
besides, it's my last chance."
Sir," he began, as soon as he had caught up Mr. Mordaunt,
"I'm going to do what I never thought to do to living
A Sailor's Gratitude. 3
creature. "I'm going to beg of you. I want three or four
pounds to bury my mother. I'm a stranger here. I must go
to Hull to-morrow. My ship sails the day after. My name is
John Jenkins, of the 'Sea Foam,' A.S.; Captain, Richard
Tooloy. I don't know a soul here; but if you'll trust me, and
you've nothing but my word to go upon, I'll repay you the
money as soon as I join my ship. The captain '11 advance it
me out of my wages."
The sailor had blurted out these sentences without giving
Mr. Mordaunt time to speak. When he stopped, the merchant
did not immediately answer; the suddenness of the request took
him aback, and he could not help wondering if this was some
form of imposture. He raised his eyes to the sailor's; the
latter read easily enough the doubt expressed in them, and, too
proud to ask again, he walked away, saying more to himself
than the man who had doubted him, "Fool that I was, to
suppose anyone would believe me! "
Thoughts rush through the mind in far less time than it
takes either to write or to read them. In a few seconds Mr.
Mordaunt had recalled his own mother's death-not so long
ago, for he wore a band of crape in memory of her even now
round his hat. HIe remembered how he had taken a sad
interest in having everything she had loved in life about her
in death-the sweet flowers-the bright pall-the favourite
spot in the sunny churchyard. It had been a real pleasure to
do this for her he had so tenderly loved in life. And yet,
here was he going to refuse a loan to a poor sailor in a strange
city, who wished, too, to honour his mother, and would fain
spare her the ignominy of a parish funeral. But he may be
an impostor," whispered the caution of a business man.
"That's his look out, not mine," said the young fellow
impetuously. "I mean to believe him. There's something
true about the way he spoke ;" and he opened his pocket-book
4 A Sailor's Gratitude.
and took from it a five pound note. Here! stop he cried,
hurrying up to the sailor. Look here! Give a man time to
answer you, and take this," and he pushed the five pound note
into the sailor's hand.
The man took it; then baring his head, notwithstanding the
sleet, which was now falling heavily, he said hoarsely, God
bless you, sir; not a word more, except that as Mr. Mordaunt,
some five minutes afterwards was stamping up and down the
Lime Street Station, trying to restore a little animation to his
frozen feet, the sailor again accosted him, saying earnestly,
" I'm glad I tracked you, sir. I had let you go, without
asking your name."
"What good will my name do you ?" returned the other,
suspicion again rushing upon him that John Jenkins meant to
have his address, to enable him to appeal to him on some
"Why, sir, how else should I return the five pounds?"
said Jenkins, in a surprised tone of voice.
Oh!" said the other curtly; and his train just then
whistling, he rapidly handed Jenkins his card, jumped into a
first-class carriage, and was out of sight before Jenkins had
lMr. Henry M2ordaunt,
He then, carefully placing the card in his pocket, said
thoughtfully, I'll remember that name as long as I live,
please God. I'll do him a good turn yet;" and then he
rapidly retraced his steps through the almost deserted streets,
and walked for half-an-hour or more till he reached the poor
quarter, where, in a dark cheerless room on the highest storey
of a miserable looking building, lay the dead body of his
mother. It would be impossible to describe the feelings of
A Sailor's Gratitude. 5
anger and shame that raged in this honest young fellow's
heart when he first found her whom he had left but a few
months before a happy and prosperous woman, and returned
to find poor, destitute and dying, stretched upon a bed of
shavings in a corner of a bare room.
She was a country-woman, and had lived all her life, except
these last few months, in a quiet village in Worcestershire.
She was far from rich, but had sufficient for her simple wants;
nay, she was even looked up to with respect as a "warm"
woman. For did she not own the tiny cottage, so bright with
shell and feather from many a foreign port ? And had she not
an income of thirty pounds a-year---a legacy of a rich uncle to
his sailor nephew, and which the good fellow had at once
made over to his mother? "If anything happens to me, she'll
want for nothing," he would say, and the thought was a
pleasure to him, as he tossed hither and thither in the restless
ever-changing life of a sailor.
No other life would do for him; he was uneasy if he were
long without the sound of the sea in his ears; and having well
provided for his widowed mother, he sailed away, reappearing
from time to time in his native village, with wonderful
presents- of bright-coloured shawls and carved pagodas for the
good mother, who each year grew, if possible, prouder than
ever of her brave boy, whose presence was ever a gleam of joy
in that bright little cottage.
She was a simple, untaught woman, knowing her Bible
well, but as innocent of the world's ways as no child in these
days has any chance of being; and, unfortunately, the lawyer
in whose hands her little fortune was invested was a dishonest
man, and, by a plausible tale, easily managed to rob the old
widow of her mite. He showed her a letter, which he said he
had received from her John, urging her to leave the village
and fix her abode in Liverpool. It would be handier for him
6 A Sailor's Gratitude.
to have her there; his ship would load there next month, and he
should be able to be longer with her if she were on the spot."
It sounded natural enough to the unsuspicious old country-
woman, who loved her son so dearly, that, to see more of him,
she made up her mind to leave the old home she had lived in
all her married life, and went off to Liverpool, telling her
friends, as she indeed fully believed, "that there was a tidy
little house all ready for her, and she'd no need to trouble
about anything." Alas it was all a fraud. She found herself
in the streets of that great city, deserted and all but penniless.
The lawyer had made off with all her little fortune, and escaped
to America. The woman, thrown thus adrift in her old age,
was ashamed to tell her friends how she had been imposed
upon, and she made a noble struggle to maintain herself. To
keep from the "House" was her great object; and with a day's
charming now and then, or a little washing, or the few odd jobs
that came in her way, she just managed to keep the breath in
her body until her son came home.
But what a coming home that was for him, poor fellow!
IHe hurried down, as on previous occasions, to the little village,
his bundle filled with presents on his back, and walked up to
the cottage, to find To Let in staring letters on a placard
at the door He felt bewildered, and went to the Vicarage,
where his mother had ever been a welcome visitor.
"She's not here, John. Left a year or more, for Liverpool,
as you wished her to do," answered the good Vicar, in reply to
Jenkins' eager questions. She promised to let us know how
she got on there, but she hasn't. It's a trouble for old people
to write, I know; but I should have liked to have had a line,
all the same."
Liverpool! His country-bred mother in Liverpool! She
who hated streets and crowds, and got dazed if she even went
to the market town! And by his wishes! Hle could not
A Sailor's Gratitude. 7
understand it, but he felt there was but one thing to be done-
to go to Liverpool and find her out, if it might be possible.
It was a weary, weary search, and many a time the young
fellow's heart sank, as he wandered through street after street,
and thought of his simple old mother in these labyrinths of dirt
and misery. It was quite by chance that he found her at last;
and weak and ill and dying, as she evidently was, they both
forgot all this in the first raptures of meeting. Jenkins' money
was nearly exhausted with his long searching, but he recklessly
spent the remainder in wine, soup, brandy, anything that he
thought would restore life to that loved, that wasted form.
But he had come too late to save her, though he could make
her last few days both happy and peaceful. My good, good
son," murmured the poor woman, as she gently passed away,
holding his handin hers. And then, when Jenkins had paid for
the few things she had had-the soft bed, to replace the sack
of shavings-the curtains, to keep the draught from the ill-
fitting windows-the few trifles he had ordered to tempt her to
eat-these exhausted all the sailor's money. He was abso-
lutely penniless, and knew not where to turn for a friend to
help him with a loan for his mother's funeral expenses.
He locked the door of the attic, and walked up and down
the wintry streets to collect his thoughts. "She shan't be
buried by the parish; it would have cut her to the heart to
think of it. She suffered so much lately; she shan't have that
shame too!" Such thoughts passed rapidly through his mind,
but where to turn for the money he could not think. He had
mates who would have lent-aye, or given-him the money
readily enough, for sailors are proverbially generous, especially
to a comrade in trouble; but he could not exactly tell where to
find them at a moment's notice. Such friends as he had were
all hundreds of miles away, and he must have the money at
once-this very night. 'Twas just then that he came across
8 A Sailor's Gratitude.
the young Liverpool merchant, and you know the sequel. It
will, therefore, not now surprise you (though I half think it
did Mr. Mordaunt) to find that on rejoining his ship two days
later, after following his mother to the grave, John Jenkins
applied for an advance of wages, which was at once granted,
and the next morning a letter, ill-written and clumsily sealed,
lay on Mr. Mordaunt's breakfast-table, hiding within it the
crisp folds of a 5 note. With John Jenkins' respectful
thanks, and hopes Mr. Mordaunt will command him when in
want of a friend." These words were written on the paper
Mr. Mordaunt smiled, perhaps a little contemptuously; but
if so, it was only a little, as he read the lines; but he said
heartily, as he passed the letter across the table to his wife,-
"The sailor was an honest fellow, Amabel. I felt sure of
it; and you see," in rather an amused tone, I have made an
influential friend by my rash loan. I must mind Twist never
comes to hear of it, by the way, or he will lose all respect for
the head of the firm. He considers that to lend money with-
out due security is, to say the least, the act of a madman."
Perhaps Twist does not remember that he who hath pity
on the poor lendeth to the Lord; and that is the best security
of all, Henry."
Mr. Mordaunt did not answer; he was collecting his papers
preparatory to leaving for the morning train to Liverpool.
A Sailor's Gratitude. 9
Whereso'er the sun hath shone
On a league of peopled ground
Little children may be found.
Blessings on them! they in me
Move a kind of sympathy,
With their wishes, hopes and fears,
With their laughter and their tears,
With their wonder so intense,
And their small experience.
THE next ten years passed away without any events especially
worthy of chronicling either in Jenkins' life or that of the
Liverpool merchant. The sailor made several voyages, and
always missed his old mother terribly when he came into port
and found no one to welcome him, and no one on whom he could
lavish his hard-earned gold. His first act was always to
go and visit his mother's grave in the crowded Lancashire
cemetery; then he would tramp the six miles or so further
to Huyton, and gaze with critical eyes upon the large, some-
what ostentatious looking villa which bore the name of Sunny-
side," and which was the residence of the prosperous Liver-
pool merchant, Mr. Henry Mordaunt.
He wants for nothing as yet," the sailor said to himself
in a satisfied tone, on one of these visits, as he ran his eyes
over the well-built house, with its pretty gardens. Children's
voices were ringing in the air; a fair lady was tenderly cutting
the dead roses from the bushes; and as the man turned to
walk back to Liverpool, he saw the well-appointed dog-cart
draw up at the gate, and the young master of all get down, to
be greeted with a sweet smile of welcome by the lady and noisy
shouts of rapture by the children.
It's all as it should be," said the sailor, as he tramped back
along the dusty high-road. "Riches and health, wife and
255) A 2
10 A Sailor's Gratitude.
children. God bless him! and when he wants a friend, send
him to John Jenkins."
He never sought to make himself known to Mr. Mordaunt in
any way, but he liked to feel that he kept a watch over his wel-
fare. "There's many ups and downs in life, as every sailor
knows; and if so be that the rich gentleman yonder were to find
himself without a shot in the locker, let him come to John
Jenkins. John's memory may be short in some things, but
as long as he lives he'll remember the name of Mordaunt."
These were some of the thoughts that would simmer in the
honest fellow's mind during the long hours of the night
watches. He had no one upon earth belonging to him,
and the man who had enabled him to pay the last respect
to his mother's memory had the whole of that sailor's
One voyage he collected a quantity of rare shells, and when
he came into port he put these into his bundle. "They'll please
the children, may be," thought he, and planned, as he tramped
the now well-known road, that he would lay them on the seat
by the old pear-tree where the children were mostly at play; but
when he came up to the house his courage failed him. The
garden was crowded with company; gay ladies in bright-
coloured dresses were flitting hither and thither across the
lawns. Gentlemen were there, busy in handing ices and tea.
There was a band of musicians in one corner, and amid the
bustle and confusion John felt dazed. He could not now
creep softly to the old seat, as he had intended; he would
sooner face a shark than all that quality;" so, somewhat dis-
appointed, he turned away again, his bundle all unopened,
when a sweet baby face peered through the hedge at the
extreme end of the garden, and smiled in childish welcome at
the sunburnt sailor.
"Good morning, Missy," said he, recognizing quickly her
A Sailor's Gratitude. II
father's likeness in the fair-haired little one. Missy nodded;
speech was as yet difficult to her three years.
"Would you like a pretty shell ?" continued the sailor,
rapidly undoing his bundle and displaying the brightest of its
"G-ive Baby !" exclaimed the little one, surprised out of
her shyness by the beauty of the offering, and holding out her
tiny hands for the prize.
The sailor leapt the low hedge, and emptied his bundle at
They are all for Baby," he said, with a hearty smile at
the little one's delight; and then he again leapt the hedge
and went on his way, a warm feeling at his heart that he had
been able to give a moment's pleasure to his child.
Next year he came again, with fresh treasures for little
Missy in his bundle: feather flowers, an elephant's tooth, a
humming-bird, carved beads, smelling still of the spicy South.
Who does not know the thousand and one things that a sailor
will pick up ? They were all for Missy. Her childish image
had been ever with him since the meeting by the hedge. He
had collected every possible trifle that he met with which was
at all likely to please a child's fancy, and he found himself (he
who had long declared the ship to be his home) to be actually
longing to be in port again, that he might tramp once more to
that village of villas, and lay his offering at Missy's feet.
It was with a light heart, and a bundle twice as heavy as
usual, that he found himself one morning in early autumn
again on the road for Huyton. He had, as of old, visited the
cemetery, and paid the gardener, with a sailor's liberality, for
the care of his mother's grave, and then, with a sigh for the
good old soul sleeping so quietly in the crowded field, he
walked quickly away. Missy must have her toys." It was
a dreary, drizzly day, though summer had hardly gone; the
12 A Sailor's Gratitude.
yellow leaves hung thickly to the trees, and did their best to
lighten the gloom of the leaden-coloured sky.
"I'm half glad it's raining," said John to himself. He felt
so light-hearted just then, he would have been glad of any-
thing. "Missy 'll care more for the toys on a wet day. When
it's fine they've the garden, and the swing, and the pretty
flowers; but when it's wet and they have to keep the house, it's
another thing. Missy '11 be glad enough of the old sailor's
toys to-day, I reckon. I know the children's room-the large
window that looks on the road. May-be I'll see her pink
cheeks pressed against it, and then I'll beckon to her, and hold
out my bundle----" e had got thus far with his reverie,
when he came in sight of the house-there was the large
window looking on the road; but ah There was no baby face
there watching the ugly rain-drops, which now beat so fiercely
against the panes. There was no one to be seen in any of the
rooms; the place seemed almost deserted; and Jenkins' heart
suddenly felt like lead within him. He lingered about to see
if no one went or came to that big many-windowed house. No !
The heavy gates were never opened, and he could have fancied
the house was empty but for a thin wreath of smoke which
the wind blew fitfully away from one of the chimneys. He
at last resolved to accost a policeman (who had long eyed the
sailor with a suspicious eye, and made up his mind that a
midnight robbery was being planned), and going up to the
constable, inquired "If Mr. Mordaunt still lived there ?" in-
dicating the house with a twist of his thumb.
"Left for the South of England," said the constable, curtly.
"Are all the family gone too ?" further inquired Jenkins.
"Everyone," said the policeman, laconically. There's no
one there but the housekeeper."
Thank ye," said Jenkins, as he slipped a coin into the
policeman's hand. That worthy accepted it with alacrity, but
A Sailor's Gratitude. 13
felt more and more sure that the sailor was a dangerous
character when he saw him open the gate, and walk up to the
house. I'll keep near, in case of murder or anything," said
the constable to himself, looking, however, about to see if any-
one were in sight for whom he could appeal for assistance, for
the sailor was, as he elegantly termed, a stiff 'un to tackle
Jenkins, meanwhile, had rung the bell, and waited quietly
in the tiled porch, whilst the cautious housekeeper surveyed
him from a side window, and, having put the door on the
chain, at length ventured to inquire his business.
Would you be so good as to tell me where Mr. Mordaunt
has gone to? said Jenkins. I've brought some toys for
the children, and if it's far off, I'll leave them here with you."
It's no good a leaving them here," said the woman; crossly.
" I don't know when they'll be back-perhaps never; for if
anything happens to Mrs. Mordaunt, Master '11 never come
to this house again, I know."
Is she ill? asked Jenkins.
Of course she is," replied the woman. "Very ill, so the
doctors say. She's to go to Madeiry, or some of those out-
landish places, for the winter, and Master has given up business,
and is going with her. But what's all this to you, sailor, I'd
like to know?"
Your Master did me a good turn once," said Jenkins,
humbly. "I don't want to pry into other folks' business;
but I like to know how he is when I come on shore, that's all,
and I always come here when I can."
Did you come here a twelvemonth ago, and bring Master's
little girl a heap of fine shells?" said the housekeeper,
"Yes," said Jenkins, simply. Did she like 'em ? "
"Like them! echoed the housekeeper, as she quickly
14 A Sailor's Gratitude.
undid the chain, "I should think she did. Nurse found
her with 'em. You must just have left, for she pointed down
the road, and said a man had given them; and Nurse said
there was a sailor walking away, but she was too shame-faced
to run after him and ask. Eh! but they were beauties!
Master saw them, and said they was worth a mint of money.
Come you in, sailor," said the housekeeper, in a very
encouraging tone, and let me get you a drop of rum; that's
what sailors like, they tell me, and -"
"No, thank you kindly all the same," said Jenkins; "but
if you'll let me have Mr. Mordaunt's address I'll be grateful."
"I'll get it you," said the woman. "Here it is, on this card.
They'll be there for a bit, till the weather gets cold, and then
the children are to go to their Aunt, and the Master and
Missis and little Miss Ella are to go away to foreign parts for
the winter. It's a terrible trouble to poor Master, Missis's
health, and leaving the children and all."
In trouble is he ?" said Jenkins to himself, as he walked
away with a determined look upon his face. In trouble-
then now's the time for John Jenkins to come to the front."
And the sound of many waters,
Breaking along the shore,
Seemed an earnest of that anthem
Which shall rise for evermore ;
When with the Chlrch triumphant,
Upon the crystal sea,
We praise Him who hath brought us
To the haven where we would be.
THE good ship "Coromandel" was dancing gaily over the
waves of the South Pacific Ocean, and the passengers, of whom
there were many on board, were already amusing themselves
with speculating as to the day and even the hour when they
A Sailor's Gratitude. 15
would reach Auckland Harbour. The voyage had been most
prosperous; even in the Bay of Biscay old Father Neptune
had been in his most genial humour, and had given the wag
of .the company the opportunity of making the well-worn joke,
that Britannia had certainly ruled the waves straight enough
And now that the voyage was drawing to a close, and a few
days more would bring the coasts of New Zealand upon the
horizon, the spirits of everyone rose high with expectation, and
with the natural longing to see once more the green fields and
the waving trees, and to stand again on a firm surface.
"I shall be glad to reach shore," said Mrs. Mordaunt to
her husband, as they sat together in a shady corner of the
deck. "But, do you know, I shall be sorry too. We have
had such a pleasant time; it has been almost like a second
"A great deal better," said Mr. Mordaunt, heartily. "I
didn't half know you then, you were such a shy little thing in
those days. But," he continued in a graver tone, "I can
never be sufficiently thankful that we were induced to take the
voyage. It has made another woman of you, Amabel. Your
cheeks are filled out, and have even a little colour in them,
and you have lost your cough."
"God has been very good to us," said his wife, softly. "Do
you know, Henry, in those dreary days at Bournemouth, I
used to think I must die; and I loved you so, and my baby
was still so young. I would fain have lived a little longer.
But I was afraid to pray for life; it might not have been His
will, so I only said, 'Do with me as Thou wilt, Lord;' and then,
when the sea breezes seemed day by day to make me stronger,
I felt so glad that I might stay a little longer with you."
Not a little longer-for many years-for all my life," said
the loving husband, as he softly clasped his wife's hand.
16 A Sailor's Gratitude.
A shout of baby laughter interrupted his speech. Look!
look, Mother! see where I have got to;" and on turning round
they saw their little Ella, mounted high in the rigging, and
held securely in her perilous position by the stalwart arms of a
Oh, Henry she will fall," exclaimed the anxious mother.
"Tell her to come down."
No, no, Amabel, she's safe enough. Don't you see
Jenkins has firm hold of her. I think Ella has bewitched
that man; he is really devoted to her, and the little monkey
quite understands her power, and makes a regular slave of the
"Yes, they are the greatest of friends," assented Mrs.
Mordaunt, still keeping her eye on her darling. Ella tells
me that Jenkins knows Huyton, and has seen Sunny-side over
and over again, and I believe she and the sailor talk over
home matters together by the hour."
"Ah! that will account, perhaps, for his taking so to us,"
said Mr. Mordaunt. "At any rate, he's a good fellow; and
what Ella would have done without him, when that fine lady
nurse of hers lay so long sick in the cabin, I cannot think."
Yes, how kind he was to me as well as to the little one,"
said Mrs. Mordaunt, gratefully. He seems always to know
by instinct what I want, and he fetches it. There's no one,"
said Mrs. Mordaunt, a little mischievously,-" so quick."
Don't, my love! I'm quite jealous already. I feel disposed
to throw myself into the sea," said Mr. Mordaunt, assuming a
melancholy tone-being in reality delighted to find his wife
regaining her spirits and her health; and as Ella at that
moment came dancing up to them, eager and excited with all
her exploits, no further conversation was then possible.
What Mrs. Mordaunt has said was indeed true enough.
Jenkins had done all in his power to make them happy and
A Sailor's Gratitude. 17
comfortable, and, as far as his duties would permit, had devoted
himself to their party. Indeed, for no other purpose had he,
with many regrets, left his old ship the "Sea Foam," and
shipped as A.S. on board the Coromandel." "He's in
trouble, and I'll stick to him, and help him through." This
had been the motive of his conduct, and he did not stop to
inquire of himself in what way he, a common sailor, was to
help the rich merchant. "I'll be there," he told himself;
the rest will follow." But as yet no opportunity had arisen,
and Jenkins felt almost disappointed. He had, it is true, been
of service in many little ways. It was he who had arranged
Mrs. Mordaunt's cushions in a sheltered corner, when she
first ventured to leave the depths of her cabin for the fresh
breezes of the upper deck-he had fetched the coil of ropes for
her footstool, and was always at the beck and call of little
Missy, as he ever called the fair-haired baby-perhaps, how-
ever, hardly now to be called a baby; but she was slight and
fairy-like, and scarcely looked her four years. Still, in spite
of these and many similar acts, Jenkins was not satisfied.
"I'd like to do him a good turn before I die," was his constant
thought-only the occasion for the good turn seemed as if it
would never come. Indeed, Mr. Mordaunt's "trouble" itself
seemed melting away; his wife's health was almost restored,
and he hoped, after a few months' residence in New Zealand,
where his firm had business transactions, to be able to return
once more to Sunny-side, and gather his children around him.
Perhaps by next Christmas Day we'll all be home again,
and eat our plum-pudding beside the blazing fire, instead of
under a blazing sun," said Mr. Mordaunt, at the close of a
Christmas Day, which, being at sea and in a part of the world
where Christmas occurs in MIid-summer, was certainly to him
the most novel of festivals. All on board had done their best
to keep it in the old English style. "As we do at home" had
18 A Sailor's Gratitude.
been the feeling which had arranged everything as far as
possible, in a region where holly and mistletoe were not to be
found, and where ice and cold were unknown. One lady, with
great ingenuity on her part, and that of the ship's carpenter,
had actually contrived a Christmas Tree, where stained wood
took the place of fir branches, and the foliage was contrived out
of green wool. The difficulty of obtaining sufficient of this
material, in the midst of the South Pacific Ocean, was tremen-
dous, and at one time even threatened the collapse of the
scheme; but the ingenious lady would not be beaten, and in
the course of the day she appeared with a goodly supply of
wool of the coveted colour, refusing most decidedly to mention
from what quarter she had obtained it. However, it transpired
in the course of time that she had ruthlessly unravelled a pair
of her husband's knickerbocker stockings! There had been
great merriment over this tree, on whose stiff boughs hung a
present for everyone on board, from the captain himself down
to the miserable little stow-a-way, who had somehow managed
to secrete himself among the luggage in the hold, and was not
discovered until the vessel had been two days at sea. Jenkins
was supremely happy in his present-a photograph of little
Missy" in a strong leather frame; and hearty cheers were
given, both by passengers and crew, for the kindly-hearted
lady who had made a happy Christmas in the Tropics. It
was with pleasant dreams of home that all went to rest that
night, little thinkingit would be their last sleep on board the good
ship "Coromandel." In the early dawn a sudden shock awoke
all on board; it was followed by the instant stoppage of the
machinery, and the next instant the ship heeled heavily over
to one side till her masts touched the water. The alarm and
consternation was great; everyone rushed on deck, without
even stopping to dress; and truly there was no time to be lost;
the ship was filling fast, and it was evident to the merest
A Sailor's Gratitude. 19
landsmen that in a very few minutes she must go down.
And now the cry arose, "The women and children to the
boats! Ah! but the boats were miserably few; they could
not save half of even the women who were rapidly being
passed into them, whilst the heavy waves swept over the decks,
and rendered the task of launching one of infinite danger.
The first boat was instantly swamped; the two next managed
to get off, but were laden to the water's edge. There remained
but one-ah, it is full!-full! without a place for Mr. Mor-
daunt, who, with his child in his arms and his wife by his side,
had in vain attempted to enter.
Mr. Mordaunt could not repress a deep groan of agony at the
prospect of a watery death, which seemed so inevitable, both
for him and his dear ones; but Mrs. Mordaunt, pale and
trembling, did not lose the calm faith which had always been
hers. "God is still with us," she said, as she soothed the
frightened little one; "and perhaps, Henry, it is His will that
we should come to Him on the water, as St. Peter did." She
had hardly finished speaking, when she felt herself firmly
grasped from behind. It was Jenkins!--Jenkins, with a
strange light shining in his eyes-Jenkins, whom, with a little
feeling of unspoken disappointment, they had seen go off in the
last boat "Jump, Missis !" he said quickly; there's room
for you in there. I'm going to make a swim for life, and you
shall have my place. I took it to prevent others getting it.
Jump The Master shall follow, andMissy too." And assured
by this promise, Mrs. Mordaunt allowed herself to be almost
thrown into the boat, where outstretched arms caught her in
safety. "Now then," said Jenkins, dragging little Ella from
her father, "jump, sir I'll throw the baby to you! Quick!
They are rowing away! "
Indeed, the boat had already pushed off, but Jenkins forced
Mr. Mordaunt to the leap, and though he fell into the water,
20 A Sailor's Gratitude.
an oar was reached out to him, and he was dragged into the
boat; but no pursuasions on the part of the distracted father or
mother would induce the sailors to go near enough to the
sinking ship to enable the child to be thrown to them. We'll
all be swamped! she's going down!" they declared; and they
rowed with fierce energy from the spot, and through the fitful
moonlight the form of Jenkins was visible for some minutes,
as he stood by the stern of the doomed vessel, holding the
little white-robed Ella aloft in his arms. "I'll bring her to
you yet, please God! he sang out in his clear, deep voice ; and
back again o'er the rolling waters came the answer, God bless
you, Jenkins." Nothing more; but the words brought back in
one instant to the sailor's mind a vision of a snowy wind-swept
street; of two men standing there side by side, one of whom
was saying to the other, in tones as earnest, as heartfelt, as
those he had just heard, God bless you! Aye, God
would bless him!-he felt a certainty He would; and after
watching the boat till it was lost to sight in the troughs of the
sea, he Qlasped the little girl tightly to him, and said, in a calm,
cheerful voice, "There, Missy, there she goes! And now
Sailor will set to work to bring Missy safe home."
Ella had from the first always designated Jenkins as "Sailor,"
no other name would she call him by; and now, ceasing her cries
for her mother, she said, with a touching childish confidence,"Ella
will stop with Sailor-Sailor will bring Ella safe to mother."
"Aye, aye, Missy; Sailor and ]Iissy get safe somehow," said
Jenkins, in his cheery tone. He felt a certainty, in spite of
the seeming impossibility, that he would bring the child home.
"You see," he explained, more to himself than to Ella, I've
been a praying for ever so long to do imn a good turn, and I'd
reckon it but half a turn to save a man and not his child ; and
as God Almighty don't do things by halves-why, we'll see
land yet, my hearty."
A Sailor's Gratitude. 21
A blind, ignorant faith, you will perhaps say-be it so! but
it was faith all the same, and a faith that did not desert this
humble servant of God in the hour of need. It nerved him,
and gave him power and courage, where others only sank down
to die. He's lost his reason, poor fellow! was the opinion
of the rest of the deserted company, as crowded together on
the wave-swept deck, or clustered like flies in the rigging, they
watched the brave fellow, as with infinite trouble and difficulty
he constructed a rough raft out of such spars and ropes as he
could manage to collect. Of provisions he could not get so
much as a biscuit or a barrel of fresh water; it was with their
lives, and nothing else, that he and little Ella started on their
perilous voyage. There was room for one or two more on the
raft, but no one would come. What's the good ? they asked.
"It's certain to be swamped; whereas, we have a chance, as
long as the ship holds together, of being picked up by some
passing vessel." But Jenkins had his own plans; he thought
that land could not be far distant, and he hoped to drift there
if the wind continued favourable ; and to him any exertion and
almost any danger was preferable to waiting for the death
which crept so slowly, and yet so surely, towards them. And
so the raft was launched; and with good wishes from those he
left, though almost lost in their ominous forebodings, Jenkins
and his frail charge left the Coromandel," and drifted away,
away, away, all through that long summer's day, till the sun,
which had been blazing down fiercely on their unprotected frames,
sunk like a ball of fire behind the sea, and Jenkins and the child
were wrapped in the sudden darkness of the tropical regions.
For a moment the stout fellow's heart did sink. He doubted
whether he could manage to support himself and the child
through the dark hours of night; he felt an irresistible sleep
creeping over him, and he feared this most of all, for the raft
made so hastily and under such adverse circumstances, was
22 A Sailor's Gratitude.
badly balanced, and it required great exertion on Jenkins'
part to prevent them both from slipping off into the sea. He
passed his hand once more round a stout rope which hung from
the cross-beams, and drawing the child more closely to him,
lie kissed her, and said tenderly-was it for the last time ?-
" Good-night, little Missy." Good-night, Sailor," said sleepy
Ella; then rousing herself, she folded her little hands, and
said, as her evening prayer, "God bless Father and Mother, and
you, Sailor, and make me a good girl, for Jesus Christ's sake.
Amen." "Amen," echoed Jenkins, feeling an untold comfort
from the child's simple words. Aye, God will bless us all, I
firmly believe," he murmured; "and if it's in the next world,
instead of this, we are to have His blessing, why What
was it stopped his speech, causing him to spring so suddenly up,
and dash into the foaming sea? The sailor knew well, drowsy
as he was: the sound of waves beating against the shingle.
Land had been closer than he thought; his raft was on a
level with the water; and he could not see the low island
that was yet so near, that now a few minutes' vigorous swim-
ming, ever holding the child firm in his grasp, brought him
into shallow water; and in another minute he stood firmly on
dry land !
On dry land When he had been drifted at the mercy of
the deep waves during the fiercely hot and thirsty hours of
the past day, he had felt that, could he but reach land again,
his troubles would be past; and yet, now that he was on
land, he felt as if they might be but beginning.
The moon had not yet risen, and everything was wrapped
in thick darkness; unknown dangers, savages, wild beasts,
snakes-who could say what dangers might be awaiting them ?
These were the melancholy feelings which oppressed him after
the first ecstacy of touching land was over. His mind, as well
as his body, was doubtless exhausted by the anxieties of the past,
A Sailor's Gratitude. 23
or he would hardly have lost heart, after so great a deliverance.
Indeed, it was but a momentary despondency. In a few minutes
he had decided that for the present, until day dawned, the
only thing to be done was to grope his way as carefully as
possible to a spot out of reach of the tide, and there to sleep if
he could-at any rate, to calmly await the morning. What
a mercy it was that the heat, even at night, was so great
in these regions, that it rendered warm clothing utterly un-
necessary ; for neither he nor the little girl had anything to
cover them, beyond the one garment in which they had been
sleeping when so suddenly roused by the accident to the
"Coromandel." Cold they had never suffered from, but thirst-
a burning, parching thirst-was their chief trouble. Hist!
Missy," said Jenkins, suddenly, as he carefully ascended the
sloping shore. Hist! what's that sound ? He stopped-
the child ever in his arms-stopped, and both were so still
that the beating of their hearts was plainly audible. Ah, yes !
but, thank God, something else was audible too; there was a
gentle trickling sound-a sweet noise of water, as it wandered
through the still night over stones and pebbles to seek the all-
attracting ocean. Water! Can you tell what that meant to
Jenkins at that moment ? Talk of the pangs of hunger-they
are as nothing to the unutterable torments of thirst !
Yes !" cried Jenkins, joyfully, "there's water here some-
where, Missy; and we'll have a good drink before we sleep
Cautiously, step by step-for the ground was, of course, quite
strange to him, and might contain pitfalls of any sort-he crept
along, resting every minute to listen, and every minute brought
the sound closer and closer. He stopped at last-his feet were
wet-oh was it with sweet water? He stooped down and
tasted a few drops. "Drink! Drink Missy," he exclaimed,
the next instant, holding the child so that her little mouth,
24 A Sailor's Gratitude.
with its dried cracked lips, could suck up the life-giving water.
Ah well may water be taken as a type of all Heavenly
blessings. None but those who have equally suffered could
tell the eager gratitude with which those weary ones drank of
that tiny stream. Then, encouraged and refreshed, Jenkins
drew the child on to his lap, and, cradled in his arms, she
dropped off into a sweet sleep, and he too, before long, was
also locked in the soundest of slumbers.
And if ever in danger and fear we are tossed
About on the stormy deep,
We'll tell how they once thought that all was lost,
When their Lord was fast asleep."
He saved them then-He can save us still-
For His are the winds and the sea;
And if He is with us, we'll fear no ill,
Whatever the danger be.
THE island to which Jenkins and the child had so providen-
tially drifted was one of those beautiful coral islands which
seem to have been peppered over the South Pacific Ocean, in
such quantities are they to be found there.
It was small-three or four miles at most in circumference-
and utterly deserted. This was the result of a survey which
Jenkins made on the first day of their arrival. Of water
there was, as we know, a sufficiency, and the cocoa-nuts and
bread-fruit trees, with which the island was thickly fringed,
promised an abundance of food, at any rate for the present.
There were turtles on the shore, and, of course, fish in the sea,
which would furnish them with nourishment, as soon as
Jenkins should have manufactured some sort of line and net
to catch them with; so that the food supply occasioned him
no anxiety. As far as their bodily wants were concerned, in a
very few days he and Ella lived in the utmost comfort-indeed,
A Sailor's Gratitude. 25
luxury-for the shore was strewn with numberless cases, casks,
tables, forms, and a hundred of other articles, which would have
told their own tale to Jenkins if the name Coromandel" had
not been so plainly painted on many of the boxes which the
waves cast so opportunely at their feet. The ship had now,
doubtless, been broken up by the sea; and unless the people
on her had been fetched away by a passing ship, they had most
likely all found a watery grave.
Little Ella laughed and shouted with delight as she found,
day after day, fresh treasures on the beach; and when a case
was discovered marked "iMordaunt," with an abundant supply
of child's clothing, her joy was extreme, and she insisted on
being at once dressed in one of the newly-recovered frocks.
" No, not that one," she explained, as Jenkins chose out a soft
white cambric. "That's my Sunday frock. When is it Sun-
day, Sailor ?"
Jenkins thought for a minute; he had almost lost count of
the days. "Thursday we left the 'Coromandel,'" he said,
slowly; "yesterday would be Friday, to-morrow it will be
"To-morrow," repeated Ella; "don't forget, Sailor. Put
me on my white frock; and after Church we must have a cake
Jenkins gravely assented; he could manage the frock and
the cake, for several casks of flour had come on shore, slightly
damaged with the salt water; but Church! and he knew
but the Lord's Prayer, and perhaps a faint glimmering of a
text or two. However, Ella's wishes were law, and he must
have Church somehow, that was certain.
Just then, however, he came upon something which pleased
him more than all previous discoveries-it was the ship's flag;
the word Coromandel striking a warm chord in the sailor's
26 A Sailor's Gratitude.
"Now, Missy," he explained to his little companion, "you
and me will fix this up there, right on the top of that cliff; and
then, if there should pass a ship this way, she'll see the flag,
and send a boat on shore, and we'll get in and sail away
Jenkins was not long in manufacturing a flag-staff from the
various masts and spars that lay about; and he and Ella gazed
with intense satisfaction at the old flag, as it floated bravely on
the afternoon breeze. Meanwhile Jenkins, as a sailor naturally
does, had swept the horizon with the telescope. It had been the
captain's, and was a powerful glass. He had, of course, ever
the thought of a passing vessel in his mind, and it was his first
duty in the morning and the last at night to scan the offing in
hopes of deliverance. And now he looked long and earnestly-
so long, that Ella grew impatient, and, tugging at his sleeve,
said, Do you see the ship, Sailor ?" The man put down the
glass, and, turning to the little girl, said, but in a voice that
was hoarse and unlike his own, "Missy had best go and play
in the shady grove, and when Sailor sees a ship he'll fetch her;"
and Ella turned contentedly away. Then Jenkins, in feverish
haste, again caught up the glass. Yes, he felt certain those
mere specks in the horizon were canoes-large ones, too. Should
they make for this island, what could he hope to do against
such odds ? Nearer and nearer drew the boats, and Jenkins
had his glass almost constantly to his eye. He could not
move from the spot, so terribly fascinating was it to watch the
approach of the savage fleet; for he could now see that there
were above twenty or thirty large canoes, all full of men.
God help us !" said poor Jenkins; I can die as a man, I
hope, and may God save my soul; but little Missy-if they
hurt her, tortured her, what should I do The thought was
maddening. What could he do against that crowd of armed
men ? for they were near enough now for him, with the aid
A Sailor's Gratitude. 27
of the strong glass, to make out the spears and painted arrows
which each carried. "God help me to take care of Missy!"
repeated poor Jenkins.
Suddenly he put down the telescope, and ran quickly to the
cave where the greater part of their stores had been placed.
Amongst them was a tin box, which had been so carefully
soldered, that it had required a good deal of forcing on the part
of Jenkins to open it.
He had been much disappointed at the time to find it to
contain nothing but fireworks, which one of the passengers was
taking out on commission for a firm in Auckland. It was this
box, however, that he now eagerly opened; and lading himself
with the contents, he mounted again to the little cliff where
floated the flag, and which, from its height, was visible over the
whole island. Here he busied himself with nailing an infinity
of fireworks to the woodwork, and others he arranged on trees
and poles in the vicinity.
"It's just a chance," he said to himself; "but God put it
into my head, I'm sure; and I'll trust to it till He teaches me
some better plan."
Meanwhile'the breeze had stiffened, and he saw with satis-
faction that the rowers could make but slow progress through
the rough sea. "They'll not make land before nightfall," he
observed, and that's just what I wanted. Now, if I can keep
Miss Ella from seeing them, it will be as well, for their ugly
forms can but frighten little Missy, and that no good." He
gave another look round; all was ready, the Catherine wheels
and other devices fairly covering all the available woodwork.
He had matches in his pocket, and a heap of crackers lay at
the foot of the flag-staff. "All right and ship-shape," pro-
nounced Jenkins, in a firm voice; and then, kneeling down, he
said aloud the Lord's Prayer. He knew no other. That did
for him, and then he felt fit for anything," and would not ask
28 A Sailor's Gratitude.
himself whether the "anything should be life or a cruel,
torturing death. "It'll be His will, anyhow; and He'll spare
the little Missy, I feel sure. He was always good to the little
ones," said the honest fellow, as he turned to find the child,
who was playing happily in the cocoa-nut grove.
Never had Jenkins been a more amusing playfellow than
on that memorable afternoon; he romped, and chased, and ran
after Ella, in the various characters of bear, or horse, or any-
thing else that it pleased her ladyship to dictate, until at last,
fairly worn out with pleasure, she dropped asleep in Jenkins'
lap, as he was spinning one of his yarns for her amuse-
With a sigh of relief the man laid her tenderly down on the
soft moss, and covering her with leaves till there was nothing
of, her visible, he turned away. I'd sooner trust her to
God than to those black creatures," he said to himself, as he
stood for a minute listening to the child's soft breathing; and
then, leaving the sheltered grove, he walked to the flag-staff,
and stood in bold relief against the waving flag of the poor old
" Coromandel." The canoes were now near enough for the
inmates to observe all that passed on the island, and a shout
of triumph came wafted across the sea at the sight of the
white man. Jenkins stood still; it was no part of his policy
to hide himself or to evince fear of any sort. On came the
savage fleet, but very slowly, for the sea was high, and their
canoes were too heavily laden to make much way. Still, every
hour brought them nearer, and as the sun set the first keel
grated on the shore. The others followed with but a few
minutes' interval; but the heaviest .boat, and apparently that
containing the chief of the tribe, for it was more carved and
ornamented than the others, was a good deal behind the
rest, and some time elapsed before it could be drawn up on the
A Sailor's Gratitude. 29
And now darkness had fallen-thick, heavy darkness-and
there would be two hours or more before the moon rose. The
savages knew this as well as if they had been provided with
every astronomical almanack that is published; and they had
kindled a large fire whilst waiting for their chief, and when he
landed they formed themselves in battle array, and a company
of them leading with flaming torches, they rushed quickly up
the little hill on which stood the flag-staff--a truly terrific army
-their painted bodies, and their fierce shouts, being enough to
dismay a host, let alone one unarmed man. But now Jenkins'
time had come. Just as the foremost of the savages was
ascending the last incline, a sudden rain of fire checked his
course. Crack !-fizz !-bang !-bang! Fire and flames
everywhere-whizzing wheels of coloured flames whirled in
the air, long streams of fire poured from the clouds! "The
gods are upon us !" shouted the terrified savages. He
comes!-fly !-fly !" for the figure of Jenkins, bristling with fire
of all colours and shapes, advanced nearer and nearer, plainly
visible in the alarming lights. "He is angry !-he will burn
us up !-fly The warlike chief himself set the example of
retreat. There was a mad rush for the boats, averting their
eyes, as far as possible, from the terrible Fire God, who, gain-
ing confidence from the success of his trick, was busily em-
ployed in keeping up the supply of fireworks. The crackers
were especially dreaded. The groans and shrieks of the poor
savages were truly pitiful to hear, had it been on any other
occasion; but it was a case of life or death to Jenkins and his
child, and he knew that well enough; so with a heart full of
gratitude to God for the success of his plan, he gravely went
on with his work, till the groans of the savages waxed
fainter and fainter across the ocean.
When the moon at length darted her bright beams on that
little island it was again deserted by every soul except Jenkins